Gordon and Anne Cave
The chronic liver disease that Gordon Cave from Bangor had suffered since 1989 was caused by an unrecognised virus. Despite the best efforts of doctors at the RVH, his liver slowly degenerated. He was assessed for a transplant in March 1997 and transplanted in October 1997. By this time the degeneration of his liver was so advanced that he was weeks away from being too ill to receive a transplant at all.
Before his transplant Gordon worked for the Northern Ireland Civil Service but by 1996 illness had ended his career. During the period between assessment and transplant in 1997 he was jaundiced and virtually bedridden, experiencing itching and chronic nausea. On the flight to London before his transplant his mind oscillated between fear, a steely determination to come through the operation and get his life back and a haunting vision of a family sitting beside a machine in some A&E ward, agreeing in their grief to allow a loved one’s organs to be donated.
The operation was successful and three weeks later Gordon returned home. He has since spent countless happy hours in his caravan in Castlearchdale – relaxing with his wife Anne, boating, fishing and watching his grandchildren Harvey (now 11) and Melissa (now 9) growing up. From the beginning he was determined to do all in his power to help others who were experiencing the illness that he had come through and has been a committee member of the RVH Liver Support Group almost from its inception until now. Chairman from 2003 until 2009, he was awarded an MBE for his services to charity in 2009.
Gordon says: I have been blessed with an additional 19 years of life and am deeply grateful. On good days, particularly when I am surrounded by my own family, my donor family comes vividly to mind. It is impossible to say thank you.
Please join the organ donor register, tell your family and friends you have done so and offer the gift of life to someone like Gordon.
It is a gift that will be cherished.
Online: organdonation.nhs.uk By phone 0300 123 23 23