Gail's new lease of life

GAIL Markillie is a completely new woman after undergoing a life-saving heart transplant - on Valentine's Day. In January doctors had given the 52-year-old just a year to live unless she received a new heart.

GAIL Markillie is a completely new woman after undergoing a life-saving heart transplant - on Valentine's Day.

In January doctors had given the 52-year-old just a year to live unless she received a new heart.

But a month later, the mother-of-two was being whisked into surgery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge for the eight-hour heart transplant operation.

Mrs Markillie, of Chapel Lane, Great Blakenham said: “I feel fantastic, absolutely amazing. I can't believe I can do what I can do.


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“I can walk up the stairs. I walk down to the shop on my own. I just want to come home and tell someone I can do it.

“I couldn't even get down the bottom of the garden before. It feels as if it's always been here. I feel as if I've got myself back. I want to do so many things.”

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The part-time data preparer was struck down by meningitis, pneumonia and septicaemia in February 2005 - just a week after her 50th birthday.

She spent three weeks in intensive care and, while in a critical condition, suffered a serious heart attack.

Mrs Markillie, who has daughters, Sarah, 26, and Zoe, 19, eventually recovered and was allowed of hospital but her heart was left so weak from the illness she was never the same again.

“The day before Valentine's Day, at 4.30pm in the afternoon, they called and said they had a potential heart.

“I was picked up and about 10.30pm I had all the tests and they said it was ok. It all started just after midnight.

“When I woke up I thought they hadn't done it because I felt so well. I had no pain whatsoever. I was so chirpy. I went to move and I realised all these things were in my neck.”

You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by contacting 0845 6060400 or by visiting www.uktransplant.org.co.uk .

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