A LIVER transplant patient who was given days to live has been saved thanks to an organ from a North Yorkshire mum who died in a kayaking accident.
The 23-year-old woman, named Laura, has been given a second chance thanks to Kate Stainsby, 41, from Swinton, near Malton, who was canoeing on the River Rawthey at Sedbergh, Cumbria, on New Year’s Day, when her canoe capsized. Kate was airlifted to hospital, but died two days later.
Kate was on the organ donor register and her organs helped dozens of people, including Laura, who has written to Kate’s partner, Paul Simpson, expressing her gratitude.
He says the news in the letter was what the “love of his life” would have wanted.
The poignant letter read: “My name is Laura and I am 23 years old. I have had liver disease my whole life and a few months ago I was only given a few days left to live. It is hard to put into words what I want to say, but first I want to say a huge thank you for this second chance that I could only have wished for and for that I am forever indebted to you.
“Second I would like to express my deepest condolences for the loss of your loved one, my thoughts are very much with you every minute of every day and I do hope so this letter will ease some of the pain.
“I never have and never will touch a drop of alcohol in my life and please be assured that I will follow the recovery programme to the letter to ensure that your gift will be respected and very much cared for.
“Again, thank you very much for this second opportunity for a new life. I feel like a brand new person, please accept my most sincere thanks and good wishes at what must be a very sad time for you.”
Kate, a senior physiotherapist lecturer at York St John University, was on a trip with fellow members of York Canoe Club when she fell into the river.
She was survived by Paul, her partner of 16 years, and their three-year-old daughter, Hannah.
Paul said: “We have received a letter from a 23-year-old girl who back in December was only given a few weeks to live; she is now living a much improved life and it’s knowing that, that will help us get through Christmas and the anniversary of Kate leaving us. It brought things back, but it is what Kate would have wanted.”
Paul urged readers to consider backing The Press’s Lifesavers campaign, which aims to raise awareness of organ donation.
Our drive was launched following the death of 22-year-old Miss York finalist Emma Young, who died while awaiting a double lung transplant. Since April 1 this year, 700 people have donated organs.
To join the register or get more information, phone 0300 1232323, visit nhsbt.nhs.uk or text SAVE to 84118.
•York Canoe Club raised hundreds of pounds in honour of Kate, through a memorial paddle on the River Ouse this summer.
The team donated £721 to The Great North Air Ambulance, which airlifted Kate to hospital. The charity has three helicopters, centred on two bases; Cumbria, and Durham Tees Valley Airport, near Darlington. It relies solely on public donations.