The Hjärta is delivered

The Hjärta has landed! Anders Jonasson of the Box Whisky, the Swedish malt whisky company hands over the bottle of Highland Park “Hjärta” to Cim in Östersund. This special bottle of whisky is a gift from Cim and me to Cim’s brother Jonas, to ceebrate the five years since Jonas donated a kidney to Cim.

The Highland Park Hjärta arrives in Östersun

Anders Jonasson hands over the Hjärta to Cim

The Hjärta, which means “heart” in Swedish, is a limited edition bottling for the Nordic market and seemed like the perfect choice for Jonas. You’d think, being made for Swedes it would be easy to get hold of in Sweden. Oh no…

In fact, this bottle was imported to Norway by the drinks company Maxxium, and bought for us by Jonathan di Blasi of Leikanger, Norway. Jonathan’s colleague Thomas drove it to Stockholm, handed it over to Angela d’Orazio of Mackmyra Whisky. She gave it to Tore Forsgren, who was driving north for Christmas, however, not to Östersund.

Luckily, through Angela’s whisky connections, she contacted Anders Jonasson who’s mum lives in the same street as Jonas, and he was driving up from Kramfors to Östersund, just at the point where he could make the pick-up from Tore. So, finally on 29 December, the prized, and much-driven bottle eventually finds its way to Jonas, who promptly declared it was too precious to drink. Of course, I was not going to listen to that!

See the beginning of the story:

5 Years since my last dialysis – Thank you Jonas

Today Jerry and I are celebrating the 5th anniversary of my kidney transplant! Today exactly at this time I and my brother were under the hands of two separate transplant surgeons and their teams getting my brothers kidney out and then walking the corridor with his kidney in a bowl, to then transplant his kidney into my bo…dy…it completely changed my life…and Jerry’s as well.

I remember a few hours before the transplant, I was doing my very last dialysis and my brother was with me, he had never seen me doing my dialysis before. We didn’t say very much, but I felt the urge to say something, I wanted to thank him for what he was going to do within a couple of hours, but I knew that no words in the world could express what I felt. But I started to say something along the line of thanking him…he looked deep into my eyes and touched my hands and said “I know”, you don’t need to say anything”, I know.

I love you Jonas with all my heart.

Celebrating Jonas: 5 Years since Cim’s Transplant

December 8 is a happy anniversary for Cim and me. Five years ago today, Cim received a kidney from her brother Jonas, in St George’s Hospital, Tooting, South London. To say that this event – this extraordinary act of brotherly generosity – transformed our lives is about as understated as you can get.

I had my hair cut. When I got back to the hospital, Jonas had just come round from the operation, and it made me very happy that he was well enough to compliment me. I knew then, that everything would be fine. And so it has turned out to be. Tack Jonas!

Highland Park Hjärta

Skål Jonas! Thanks from me.

I will be acknowledging Jonas this year by sending him some malt whisky, this time a special bottling from the Highland Park distillery on the Scandinavian-influenced Orkney Islands. The bottling is called “Hjärta” which is the Swedish for “heart”. I could think of only one name that might be more appropriate, but somehow Njure* doesn’t sound as appetising.

Cim and her brother continue to be well. Cim was even described as “super-normal” by one renal doctor. We will spend new year with Jonas, his partner Maria and their one-year-old daughter Stella. I hope he saves me a dram!

As well as the gratitude I feel – we  feel, I am also glad. As one of my friends put it, progress often gets a bad press, but I’m glad that such a serious condition as renal failure can be treated so successfully. Grateful, because Cim is one of the lucky ones never having to sit on a waiting list waiting for an organ,

It would make us even more glad if you register for the organ donor register. Thanks to all of you who have already done so.

*Njure = Kidney, if you hadn’t guessed

I Hope You Know: Campaign Update From Sarah Springett of The Floe

Sarah Springett of the UK band The Floe has just posted an update and message about the “I hope you know campaign”. It starts:

“Firstly, thank you all once again for your incredible support. Since the ‘I Hope You Know’ single campaign was launched on November 9th (a year to the day since I donated a kidney to my boyfriend Paul) there has been an incredible wave of generosity and encouragement from every angle. The national media have really helped to promote the story, charities and organisations have spread the message on our behalf, and individuals have done a fantastic job of championing the cause. Special thanks to The Transplant Trust for their continued support and guidance.

I Hope You Know Campaign

Click to go to the I Hope You Know site and buy the single

To every one of you who has signed the NHS Organ Donor Register, downloaded the ‘I Hope You Know’ single, visited the www.ihopeyouknow.co.uk site, joined the Facebook cause, or passed on the info to friends/family/colleagues as a result of the campaign – thank you thank you thank you. ‘I Hope You Know’ what a difference you have personally made.”

The full message is posted on the band website here, and their Facebook fan page.

The campaign, if you remember from the earlier post, started with the release of the single “I hope you know” by The Floe with the aim to raise awareness of organ donation and get many more thousands of people to join the register.

Proceeds from the single go to The Transplant Trust. You can still buy the ‘I Hope you Know’ single, and you if you’ve done that, please share the link with your friends. It all makes a difference.