Lung transplant survivor lives her dream

TWO years on from a life-saving double lung transplant, Justine Laymond is still fulfilling her dreams.

Elliot Furniss

TWO years on from a life-saving double lung transplant, Justine Laymond is still fulfilling her dreams.

The 35-year-old, from Broomfield, near Chelmsford, is making the most of her second chance at life, having competed in the British and European Transplant Games and spent two months travelling around Europe on her own.

Justine began experiencing problems with her lungs in her 20s and it took a decade for doctors to come to the conclusion that she had Lymphangiolieomyomatosis - also known as LAM.

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The extremely rare disease led to 15 lung collapses and a three-week coma and, at 32, Justine underwent the major operation to replace her lungs that gave her a second chance at life.

Now, two years on, she has spoken of her amazing achievements since the operation and how she now refuses to let anything hold her back.

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She said: “It's so easy to say 'I want to do this' and 'I have ambitions' and then, 10 or 15 years later, most people have done nothing.

“I don't have that opportunity - I have to live for today. I have been blessed with two wonderful years. I call them bonus years - that will never change.

“I know I have been given an 'extension' but I don't know when it will run out.”

Justine has been helped through her most difficult times by her close network of friends and family and said they had made a massive difference to her recovery.

Speaking as she approached the two-year anniversary of her operation on July 9, Justine also spoke out to back National Transplant Week, which takes place between July 6 and 13.

She said: “I'm a very positive person, but I still get very, very tired and I'm only able to work part-time at a gym. I do three days a week, the rest of the time I am resting or I try to exercise to keep my lungs fit and healthy.

“My message to others facing similar situations is to never give up hope - constantly aspire to do what you can by whatever means possible.

“And everyone must get donor cards - one person can save seven peoples' lives and restore the sight of two more. You never know when your time is up and it is reassuring knowing that your organs could go on to save someone's life - like mine.”

For more information about Justine, LAM and donor cards, visit www.justine

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