I first met Emily in 2008. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a charity event with Live Life Then Give Life and at this point I was an advocate for them. My Mum and Dad were there and also the other co-founder of the charity Emma.
Emily was running late and when she finally arrived she burst through the door dragging a wheely suitcase behind her, bumping into chairs and tables as she made her way over to us. She was exactly like I had imagined her! Small, blonde and smiley! She spoke quite posh (well compared to me) was bubbly and exuded confidence!
She unzipped the suitcase, handed me a box of rubber ducks and said come on let’s get to work! She didn’t pause for breath, she didn’t sit down, she was a woman on a mission! From that day forward I knew we would be friends, I wanted to be like her, I wanted to be able to talk to people like she could! She was so down to earth but wouldn’t take sh*t from anyone! This was the day that a man told me in our quest to get more people to sign the organ donor register… that he would donate his sausage to me!
Emily took this comment in her stride as she took everything in her stride! I have never seen someone work a room how she worked a room.
From that day I knew I wanted to join her in her quest to change the world… one sign up at a time!
Although we lived miles apart, from then on we were close. Not a week would go past without her texting me and I was an avid reader of her blog. At this point, I was waiting for a kidney transplant and on dialysis, she was the one who inspired me to start my blog and write down my thoughts. Even though English is not my strong point it helped me to gather my thoughts and I found it therapeutic (and here I am now doing the exact same thing and finding that it is as cathartic as it always was.)
I attended as many events as I could as an advocate for Live Life Then Give Life and although we lived at other ends of the country our paths crossed quite often as she would come and stay at my parents’ house for events in the north and I would venture down to Epsom for events down South. I had the privilege of hearing Emily tell her story on a number of occasions, she always had the knack of making people laugh and cry (including me) you could hear a pin drop when she was speaking, everyone would hang on her every word.
In October 2010 when I got my call for my transplant, after family members the first person I rang was Emily. Although she had had a transplant, lungs are a different ball game to kidney but I thought she would be able to give me some hints as to what to pack in my case… “Well, I took some fairy lights and a cuddly toy!” although not helpful advice (thanks Em) she did succeed in calming me down in what was a very stressful/frantic phone call.
Emily took on the role of supporting my parents through the 3 weeks of me being in hospital and recovering, she wrote on my blog everyday and also played a huge role in starting my Battlefront Campaign!
The Battlefront Campaign strengthened our relationship as it allowed us to spend more time together. It consisted of a camera crew following my story and showed how Emily supported me in getting more people to sign the organ donor register, she was there every step of the way! This led to us spending the evening rubbing shoulders with celebrities at 10 Downing Street, a night I will never forget! Again Emily worked that room, she networked like there was no tomorrow and wasn’t phased by anyone at all! Whereas I somehow developed a stutter every time I spoke to someone famous! Thank goodness she was there, I concentrated more on drinking the bucks fizz and let her do the talking! (As can be seen from this photo!)
There was much fun to be had at many advocate weekends and the charity made me a trustee which I was so proud to do! Trustee meetings were often halted by me and Emily going off on a tangent talking about something totally off topic, being distracted by things… usually sparkly things!
It wasn’t all work though! We had many meals out, many girly nights in (eating as much junk food as we could until we felt sick) many DVD days, BBQs and Emily introduced me to flour mountain! Emily even travelled up north to come to a Take That concert with me and my sister-in-law!
Emily made an impact on everyone she met. My 6 year old niece met her once and still talks about her to this day… they gave each other nicknames the day they met. Abi will forever be known as “Abi the green bean” and Emily as “Emily the carrot” Abi ate all her veg that day, thanks to Emily.
This is just a snippet of the impact Emily had on me, she encouraged me to share my story, she inspired me to make a small change in the world.
Emily always knew what to say, she was there for everyone, nothing was too much trouble.
I don’t want to dwell too much on her final weeks but her determination shone through till the end. The last text I received off her said “I’m working on it xx”. I told her that if anyone could do this, she could. But it was one struggle too many. Emily was lucky enough to get a second transplant but her body wasn’t strong enough to fight the many complications that comes with re-transplantation and she passed away peacefully on the 28th December with her loving family surrounding her.
Emily was a daughter, sister, wife, Mummy, friend. She achieved so much in her short life.
2015 will see us saying goodbye to an amazing young lady. I don’t think it has sunk in yet, I don’t think it ever will.
Emily was the strongest, bravest person I have ever and will ever know. She has changed who I am and that will stay with me forever. If I can be half the person she was then I will be happy. I will miss you forever Emily the carrot. Thank you for your sparkle.