Natalie Curr celebrates her 37th birthday last week – one she never thought she would see.
In fact, Natalie never thought she would see a birthday after the age of 30 because she had developed deadly pulmonary hypertension and had a limited life span.
She needed a double lung transplant and, six years ago, against her, she received this transplant and her life began again. Now, at home in Alington, she has two tasks in life: to make her two children take pride in her and raise awareness of organ donation.
But all this is far in the future when Natalie grew up in The Haulgh and Breightmet as part of a loving family. Her father, Eric, is working at Bolton Railway Station and is now an operational coordinator at Longsight. Her mother, Christine, is a constant and supportive presence in a very happy childhood.
Natalie went to the Bolton Parks Primary School and then to Roscoe Fol before Walsins High School and Bolton North College, winning a good GCSE before going to 16.
Always sporting and dancing love, Natalie had excellent health throughout school and spent her free time in dance classes, or went out dancing socially with friends. "I've always been good and always very active," she remembers.
She had sights set on a career in nursing care and retained part-time work at college. She moved to Altonton when she met her future partner and son. Brandon was born in 2002.
Natalie continued to maintain her vital dream and was admitted to a medical degree at Salford University. Unfortunately, in the early 1920s, she began to suffer from her breathing problems and feel bad.
Her doctor may find nothing wrong, but when it collapsed in 2005, she was sent for hospital research. Again, they did not reveal a specific reason.
So far Natalie has begun to take care of at the Bol Bolton Hospital – "I really loved breastfeeding, I just loved my job," she said.
She then became pregnant with her second child, Isabelle. When she was only six months pregnant, she was uncomfortable again and doctors were afraid she had pre-eclampsia – a condition that included high blood pressure. Specialized tests, however, revealed that she had actually had pulmonary hypertension, a serious condition that could damage the right side of the heart.
"I was really shocked by the diagnosis," Natalie said. "But I was very bad – and I was also in trouble."
After being transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in Manchester, she naturally gives birth to her daughter very early.
Back home and fragile, Natalie lives mostly on a wheelchair and oxygen, but her own research shows that doctors in America are getting good results for pulmonary hypertension with stem cell treatment.
Since it cost £ 40,000, a high-profile campaign has begun to really attract public attention. With the help of a variety of friends and family, the money was raised. Natalie eventually had her treatment and one year's "feeling pretty good."
But the symptoms came back, and Natalie was told that only a double pulmonary transplant would now change. She went to the transplant list and, very badly, waited.
"I just wanted to see my kids grow up," she said. "I made my will and I'm not planning to be there, I wanted to live, but I just felt so tired."
Then a miracle. In 2012, she was told that there were suitable lung donors and she went to Wythenshawe Transplant Hospital.
It was a success and, remarkably, she was home within three weeks. "I was so grateful to the donor's family and to all the people who helped me," Natalie said.
Finally, she could play with her children, take them with snowshoes in the snow – do whatever she had never done. "I had my life back," she said simply, smiling in her memory.
Since then, Natalie has become an active ambassador for donating organs. After appearing on the Lorraine TV show, 10,000 people enrolled to become organ donors. She appeared on television and radio, took part in newspapers and magazines and held talks with various groups, organizations and primary schools.
Her dream is for a national system of giving up organs and she is "happy" that the government is planning this now. "If only people realized what organ donation means to humans, I'm sure they will understand," she said. – That brings me back to my life.
To learn more about organ donation, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk/