Young woman whose life was saved by organ donation campaigns to get more people to sign up

11:59 21 February 2014

Bernice Perry in her 20s-theme attire for the Transplant Troopers Calendar.

Bernice Perry in her 20s-theme attire for the Transplant Troopers Calendar.

Archant

In these photographs Bernice Perry looks the picture of health. It is hard to believe she was fighting for her life just two months ago.

Facts about organ donation

• 96% of people believe donating organs is the right thing to do

• 4% do not believe in donating organs

• 70% have not joined the organ donation register

• 30% have joined the register

• More than 7,500 people are waiting for an organ donation across the UK

• 1,000 people die on average every year waiting for an organ

• 96% of people would take an organ if they needed one but only 30 per cent are registered

• By signing up to the register you could save or enhance up to nine lives. Visit organdonation.nhs.uk

*data from NHS Blood and Transplant

In December, the 22-year-old had spent 15 months desperately waiting for a double lung transplant after her own lungs had been destroyed by cystic fibrosis.

The majority of her time was spent attached to oxygen and it would be very rare to see her without her wheelchair.

But since being giving the best gift she could have asked for – “a second chance at life” – she is letting nothing hold her back.

Bernice was recently dressed to the nines and putting all of her new-found energy into a photo shoot, held at Scrumptious Tearooms in Great Dunmow and snapped by former Broadcast reporter and photographer Michael Boyton, for the cause that saved her life.

Bernice with Jane Turton, owner of Scrumptious Tearooms.Bernice with Jane Turton, owner of Scrumptious Tearooms.

“I wouldn’t be here without my donor so I want to do everything I can to promote organ donation and show it is a good thing to do,” said Bernice.

“Before my transplant I would never have been able to take part in something likes this – I struggled to even leave the house. But I have been given a second chance and want to make sure I live life to the full for my donor.”

The pictures were being taken for the Transplant Troopers Calendar 2015. The initiative has been organised by a group of transplant patients to raise money for organ donation awareness charity, Live Life Then Give Life.

Owner of Scrumptious Tearooms, Jane Turton, was happy to let the 1920s-themed shoot take place at the vintage-styled eatery on Market Place.

“It was really fun to be dressed up and I couldn’t have imagined a better location” added Bernice, who lives in Haverhill but has family connections in Dunmow. “I really want to say thank you to Jane and the photographer Michael for helping me.”

The calendar will be going on sale later this year and Bernice, who has one sister and three brothers, will be starring as the month of January.

It is hoped the calendar will raise awareness about organ donation.

Bernice said: “I never thought I would get my call. I just had to stay positive for my family and friends.

“Now I can make plans for the future – something I could never do before. Organ donation saved my life.

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