A DESPERATELY ill mum has been given a last chance of life after beating the odds to undergo a double lung transplant.
Natalie Kerr, 30, was at home on Thursday night with her children when she received the long-awaited call to tell her a match had been found.
She was rushed into hospital for an eight-hour operation which began at 6am yesterday.
Last night, she was in intensive care with a picture of her children Brendon, nine, and four-year-old Isabelle by her side.
Speaking from outside her room at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, dad Eric said: “Natalie has been waiting for this to happen for so long.
“The doctors seem quite happy with how things have gone and only time will tell now.”
Mum-of-two Natalie was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2008 while in labour with Isabelle.
The condition causes high pressure in the arteries of her lungs, and eventually leads to heart failure.
Natalie, who worked as a nurse at the Royal Bolton Hospital, was warned she would only live for three more years.
But she continued to defy the odds, undergoing revolutionary stem cell treatment in the US after her family helped raise £40,000 to fund the trip.
However, after initially being given a new lease of life, her condition rapidly deteriorated and her only hope was the double-lung transplant.
She was put on the waiting list in October and faced a nervous wait for the same size organ donor with the same blood and tissue type to be able to undergo treatment.
Across the country more than 200 people are currently waiting for the procedure. She finally received the much-awaited phone call on Thursday night that a match had been found before she was rushed to hospital.
She requested the picture of Brendon and Isabelle be at her side when she wakes up.
Dad Eric said: “It was mine and my wife’s wedding anniversary on Thursday so we went down to London for a couple of days.
“We booked tickets to see Shrek: The Musical and by the time we got back to the hotel she called us to say she had had the call.
“We came straight back and arrived just in time. We’ve had hardly any sleep.”
Natalie, of Adlington, near Chorley, will face a week-long stay in intensive care after the operation while doctors monitor her condition round-the-clock.
Eric said: “We spent a good few hours with her while we were waiting for the surgeon to get the lungs and Natalie ready.
“She looked excited but also tired and a bit nervous.
“She will be in intensive care for a week because she will be very weak. They will have to ease her back into having proper working function in her lungs.
“The staff at the hospital and the support we have had has been absolutely brilliant and we can’t thank people enough.”
Natalie is urging people to join the Donor Register and give people like her the chance of life.
To find out how to donate call 0300 1232323 or look online www.organdonation.nhs.uk