DOUBLE lung transplant mum Natalie Kerr is today celebrating the birthday she never thought she would see.
Last year, the mum of two, who underwent a doublelung transplant surgery in February, was too poorly to enjoy her 30th birthday.
Unlike most 30-year-olds, who would have a big party or celebration, Miss Kerr was getting presents ready for her children early in case she was not around on Christmas Day.
But this year, the former Royal Bolton Hospital nurse has more than a birthday to celebrate — it has been eight months since her life was saved by the transplant and she has amazed doctors with her progress.
She is planning on spending the day with her children, Brandon, aged 10 and four-year-old Isabelle, who she had been afraid she would not live to see grow up.
Miss Kerr, from Adlington, was given a “death sentence” four years ago when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, but thanks to the transplant she has been given a “second chance” at life.
She said: “Last year, I just went to a restaurant with some friends. I think I would have had a big party for my 30th if I was well, but I just wasn’t up to it.
“I’m not going to have a big party this year, but I am thinking of having one in February to celebrate a year since my transplant — it will make up for missing my 30th.
“They say life begins at 30 and I believe it because I am 31 and I am here. I am really looking forward to my birthday, just because I am better.
“If I hadn’t had my new lungs then I wouldn’t be here now.”
Miss Kerr is celebrating her birthday by having a girls’ night out — the first one since before she became ill.
Since her transplant, she has being enjoying being able to do everyday things, like going to school assemblies, helping out with Children in Need at her daughter’s school, celebrating Bonfire Night and taking Isabelle trick or treating for the first time.
The family also has a 14-week-old chocolate Labrador, called Ella, to help keep Miss Kerr active and healthy.
Miss Kerr says she will always be grateful to the woman who donated her lungs and said she thinks about her every day.
“It is hard to think of somebody else’s lungs instead of mine, but they must be somebody else’s because they work and I can breathe,” she said.
Miss Kerr is appealing for people to join the organ donor register.
For more information, see organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23