Claire Magee is thankful for her second chance at life.
Claire Magee is thankful for her second chance at life. Trevor Veale

Woman receives the gift of life

CLAIRE Magee has counted every day for the past 10 years as a gift.

Fifteen years ago the Darlington Park resident was one of a handful of women in Australia who was diagnosed with lymphangiomymotasis – a rare tumorous lung disease only found in women.

At 50 years of age the active water-skier, tennis and squash player found herself running out of stamina and breath.

She slowly went downhill before doctors diagnosed the rare disease and her only hope of survival was to have a double lung transplant.

Claire had already had her hopes raised twice waiting for a donation and she was not expecting a favourable outcome despite her life being in the balance.

“The tumours kept growing over my lungs and they gradually invaded my airways so I couldn’t breathe,” Ms Magee said.

By the time she received the phone call saying a donation was available she was on oxygen 50 per cent of the time and finding it hard to complete the simplest of tasks.

She was flown to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney where she received the double lung transplant and then returned to Prince Charles in Brisbane to recuperate for 18 days.

“Since then the whole journey has been amazing.”

She has been through rejection twice, had to have 1000mg of steroids a day and has been heartbroken to watch other families suffer as their children desperately waited for an organ transplant to stay alive.

She celebrated her 10th anniversary of the operation with her four children and her seven grandchildren. Her two sisters and brother and their extended family also came to celebrate the gift of life with her.

Claire has exceeded all expectations and is in incredibly good health since the transplant, although sadly many lung transplant recipients do not make it past the three-year mark.

It has also made her appreciate the incredible gift that a family gave to her when they allowed a lung transplant and she encourages everybody to register their intention to have their organs donated and discuss this choice with their family.



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