Five years ago it looked as if life for wee Erin Mcilvaney of Biggar would end after the tragically short span of just six months.
However, thanks to some unknown family’s great generosity and courage, Erin received a liver transplant back in 2011 that not only saved her life but has allowed her to live a very full one too.
In fact, as you read this, the-now Biggar Primary P1 pupil is away ski-ing down some Swiss alp!
She is part of a 40 strong international party of children and teenagers attending a week-long ski camp, all the youngsters having one thing in common - their lives were all saved by transplants of donated organs.
She and her 39 young companions are at the TACKERS International Ski Camp in the alpine village of Anzere.
TACKERS stands for Transplant Adventure Camps for Kids and this organisation organises these expeditions largely to highlight the need for more organ donors and to show what wonderful results can come of giving a child a ‘second chance of life’.
The Biggar lass is there with youngsters from quite literally around the world, her fellow ‘campers’, all being looked after by an expert nursing/medical team, hailing from 12 different countries including Australia, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK, who have the largest team with 13 children, including Erin.
Said a spokeswoman for TACKERS: “For most of the children, this is the very first time they have been abroad and away from the protective arms of their parents and escaping their struggle for long-term health for a week of fun!
“Staying in the same chalet and looked after by the excellent staff, the children gain confidence, self-esteem and many new friends.”
Lynne Holt, Head Nurse co-ordinating the International Nursing team caring for the children, said: “All of these children have experienced near death situations and long periods of illness.
“ Without the ‘Gift of Life’ they simply would not be here today.”
“They have already climbed a mountain in their battle for life and, with their courage and determination, they will enjoy the thrills of skiing down the mountains in Switzerland.
“Life is very precious and as there is a desperate shortage of organs internationally, we do hope that seeing these amazing youngsters will encourage people to talk to their families about organ donation.”
To register as an organ donor, go on the NHS Donor Register, telephone 0300 123 23 23, text SAVE to 62323 or go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk. to register online.
Potential donors should discuss the issue with their families.