Today my transplanted kidney turns 13. Thirteen years off the debilitating rounds of dialysis, repeated infections and frequent hospitalisation. Thirteen years of living a full life and embracing all the opportunities that have come my way.
For me and my family today is marked with thankfulness: for the new life the kidney gave us, for the doctors and consultants who manage my health and tread the tight rope of immunosuppression. But we’re also aware that for another family today marks a different anniversary. Our debt of gratitude is to them, that out of grief they could gift life.
In May it was one year since Max and Keira’s law was passed, which has replaced opting into donation with an opt out based system. This has increased the number of organ donations, but with families still having a final say its important everyone has an organ donation chat with their loved ones.
New year gives an excellent opportunity to reflect on the past and make plans for the future; due to less visitors than expected in the Christmas period I have had more time to engage in this useful activity.
2022 was a big year for me, particularly moving school for sixth form. This has been a huge success, studying English language and making new friends. Outside of school my main focus remains advocating for literacy teaching for all pupils, and last year I attended 33 meetings about this. It’s encouraging to see some shifts in thinking and practice as more special schools raise expectations for what is possible.
Sharing my faith is a great privilege, and last year I was given the opportunity to do this at four very different occasions: the short testimony which I gave at school is below.
For each new talk I give I spend an hour writing and preparing per minute; and if the talk is being presented as a film it takes my mother, carers, and my voice, Alaric, a further hour per minute to put it together.
This year outside of school I will continue my advocacy work as a voice for the voiceless, and taking opportunities to share my faith. I also plan to use my time more efficiently so I get a chance to write more poetry. So, starting as I mean to go on I offer you my first poem of the year.