Oct 26 2011 by Wendy Scott, Airdrie & Coatbridge
COURAGEOUS Kirsty Geddes this week relived the terrifying moment when she thought she was going to die.
The Coatbridge College student suffered a collapsed lung in her boyfriend’s Glasgow home.
And while waiting in his bedroom for the ambulance to arrive she told Dougie Harvey (26): ‘I’m sorry. I’m going to die.
“It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I couldn’t breathe. I really thought this was it.”
Both Kirsty’s parents Sandy (55) and Annette (56), are carriers of the faulty gene which meant there was a one in four chance of their children having Cystic Fibrosis.
And in this case Kirsty was born with it.
The popular student has two big sisters Tracey (36) and Julie (33), who do not have the disease. Julie has a daughter, Caitlin (12) and Tracy has a daughter Tamzin (11).
Kirsty said: “I was really well when I was younger and brought up by my parents as a normal girl but I knew I would have to get physio and take medication.”
However, when Kirsty was 13-years-old she began to lose a lot of weight and developed a chest infection and was diagnosed with diabetes.
She was regularly admitted to Yorkhill Hospital with breathing difficulties and six years later developed scarring on her lungs.
She said: “I couldn’t walk the length of myself and doctors said that if I went to university I wouldn’t be here in a year because of the damage which had been done to my lungs.”
However, Kirsty was determined to have a career and enrolled as a student at Coatbridge College in 2007 on the full-time HNC Hairdressing course.
In February 2008 Kirsty suffered a collapsed lung in Dougie’s home.
Fortunately, brave Kirsty pulled through but had a further two collapses.
She said: “Doctors told me that if I didn’t get on the transplant list there was nothing they could do if I had another collapse.”
During her time at the college Kirsty required round-the-clock oxygen support, physiotherapy and numerous medications but amazingly she didn’t allow her failing health to stand in her way and in October 2009 she graduated with an A in HNC hairdressing.
Her passion to succeed progressed as she joined the HND course but she had fallen so ill that her only hope of survival was a double lung transplant.
And in November last year she received the fantastic news that she was to receive her transplant.
Kirsty travelled to Newcastle for an assessment and was put on the transplant list.
While waiting for the green light Kirsty went to RockNess with Dougie.
She said: “I was so ill Dougie had to give me a piggy back everywhere because I couldn’t walk and I needed oxygen and was on a ventilator at night.
“I ended up in Gartnavel Hospital and the nurses took a double take when they saw me as I was bright blue.
“I was treated as a matter of urgency and the day after my birthday I got the call to say I was getting a transplant. It was the best birthday present ever.”
She added: “I remember walking about The Fort in Glasgow with an oxygen machine with everyone pointing and staring at me.”
Kirsty and Dougie and her family travelled to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where she underwent the nine-and-a-half hour transplant operation.
She said: “I woke up after seven hours and felt amazing and was doing so well that they [the nurses] moved me out of intensive care. I was in hospital for two weeks before moving to a hospital flat for a week and then home for Christmas 2009.
“It was fantastic celebrating with new lungs. It was just amazing.”
In June 2010 just six months after receiving her transplant Kirsty completed the first year of her HND course achieving grade A for her graded unit.
She has successfully completed the HND make-up artistry course and is currently employed as a make-up consultant with MAC Cosmetics.
She said: “I can walk, dance, climb and go to Zumba classes.
“The staff at college were amazing and I have fantastic friends. Dougie and I plan to travel and see the world.
“The studying kept me going and gave me something to focus on when I was feeling bad.
“The rest of my life I will be living for my donor.”
She added: “I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving the award.”
Donna Brogan, Kirsty’s hairdressing lecturer, said: “Kirsty is an inspiration to all of us and we would like to say how proud we are that she is receiving this much deserved award.”