In February 2015, Kristina received a double lung transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital. originally treated for Asthma but after changing her doctor’s surgery discovered she had severe Alpha 1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and very damaged lungs. She was told she would be on oxygen in 10 years. However, it was 15 years before she admitted she couldn't cope anymore.

 

A transplant was her only option. Sophie, Meg and Polly, Kristina’s (known as Tina to them) nieces share what it was like seeing their Aunt waiting for a donor match;

 

“It was only her husband, Tony, who really knew how poorly she was. Tina hid her illness very well. Tina was only on the donor register for very short 3 hours before she got the call - it was a huge whirlwind. Before we knew it, Tina had a healthy pair of lungs from her incredibly generous donor, was sat up in bed and her recovery began.”

 

“Tina was soon on the exercise bike and before long was out walking her dog, then back on her horse, took up body pump classes and even climbing the stairs at London Underground stations. Whilst Tina was recovering, she taught herself crochet and began making some gorgeous blankets and gifts that she went on to sell at craft fairs along with homemade jam.”

 

Since Kristina’s transplant in 2015, her nieces have always supported the hospital in organising and participating in several challenging fundraisers. This coming February will mark the 5th anniversary since Kristina received an amazing pair of lungs and to celebrate and thank the fantastic doctors and nurses at Royal Papworth, together, they decided to do Papworth 5k Challenge with an aim to raise an additional £5,000 for the transplant unit.

 

“Last Christmas Polly and Meg signed up for the Amsterdam marathon, we thought this was a great opportunity to kick off our idea to raise £5,000. We started training and a few months later jumped on a plane with a group of our supporters and ran the 26.2 miles around the city of Amsterdam. Not only was this a huge achievement for the both of us but this was the first time in 13 years Tina was able and felt comfortable to fly.”

 

“Our next challenge involved a group of our family and friends, including Sophie (just to clarify Sophie does not like exercise!) who completed the Winter Wolf Run... A 10km run filled with many obstacles and LOTS of mud, it was absolutely freezing. But we completed it, raised even more money towards out target. And thankfully we were greeted at the end by our support squad with hot chocolate, gin and homemade cakes.”

As Christmas was fast approaching it was Nan Steggles' time in the spotlight for fundraising. Throughout the year, just like Santa's elves, she had been working hard to knit Santa and Snowmen bunting to sell, with all monies going towards the 5k challenge. These cute little decorations took Northampton by storm and sold out within 48 hours.

 

So far, Sophie, Meg and Polly have raised just over half of their £5,000 target and are already thinking about fundraising events next year. Their next big event is in May 2020 where they will be holding a coffee morning to help reach their target. 

If you would like to stay updated, donate and support the Knight sisters in their fundraising challenge, please visit their fundraising page here.

  

Amongst all the fundraising we have been raising awareness of how important it is to join the Donor Register. Everybody has the chance to help save a life. We will be forever grateful to her donor and the fantastic doctors and nurses at Royal Papworth Hospital. And from the bottom of our hearts, the biggest thank you to everyone who gave Tina her second chance at life.

We love the whole family getting behind and supporting Aunt Tina after her transplant. What a lovely way to celebrate 5 years post-transplant!

From everyone at Royal Papworth we are wishing the Knight sisters the best of luck in their fundraising challenge into the new year and thank you for all of your fundraising efforts this year.

Bring on 2020!