Ruth's story

Transplant recipient Ruth Creaney reflects on the gift of life she received through organ donation, and how it has enabled her to live life to the full.

Liver transplant recipient Ruth tells her story of how she came to need a transplant, and what this life-saving call has meant to her.

"When I was seven years old, I was rushed to hospital with jaundice and a severe pain in my side. I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis; this is a condition when the body’s immune system attacks its own liver cells. It had caused damage to my liver however with medication and regular check-ups it could be managed. As I got older, I was in and out of hospital much more frequently with infections that required antibiotics. By my late teens I was regularly in hospital for one or two weeks a month.

When I was not in hospital I socialised like any other teenager and met my husband, Lloyd. I warned him what dating me involved, but none of this deterred him. In 2009 we got engaged and planned our wedding for September the following year. However, in the summer of 2009 my condition worsened further, and I developed encephalopathy and was unconscious for 4 days. It was after this that I was placed on the transplant list for a new liver.

I was told that it would be approximately 12-18 months before a liver might become available to me, having the potential to change all of the wedding plans that we had.

Four months later, on 6th January 2010 I received “The Call” a liver had become available, and it may be a suitable match for me. It was a phone call I will never forget."

"Live life then give life and let your loved ones know your wishes."

A tense journey

"It was terrible weather conditions outside with freezing temperature and 3-4 inches of snow, but Lloyd and I boarded a small charted plane to fly to London. We were fortunate to be the last plane to land before the runway was closed due to the weather. After a blue light run from the airport to the hospital, a few more tests and 8 hours in the operating theatre I had a new liver, well half of one.

A donated liver can be split meaning that two people can benefit. I later found out that a 6-month-old baby was the recipient of the other half. A liver can regenerate and grow to the correct size again in a matter of weeks."


"Post-transplant life has been wonderful. I was able to walk down the aisle on my wedding day in September as originally planned, I have been fit and healthy with no more hospital inpatient stays. We now have three beautiful children which I need all the energy I can get just to keep up with. I have been able to take part in the the British Transplant Games over the years and love playing hockey with a local mums and chums team.

Without doubt I would not be here today if it wasn't for this gift!

Words cannot express how grateful I am to the donor and their family for allowing me to receive the gift of life!"