“The NHS saved my life - and then it gave me a new career. I’ll never stop being grateful.”

In January 2020, Catherine underwent a double lung transplant at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester. After her recovery she was unable to return to her Nursery Nurse job so began volunteering for the Trust which in turn led her to getting a job as a Clerical Worker in the General Outpatients Department at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital.

She said:

"After the transplant I didn’t wake up for a week. But after five weeks in hospital, I was allowed home and feeling extremely grateful to my donor and her family, and of course the NHS to be alive.

Catherine MakinBut being high risk to infection there was no way I could return to work in a children’s nursery. And to make matters worse COVID-19 pandemic had hit and I had to isolate for almost two years.

It was tough not mixing with people and knowing I couldn’t return to the job I loved. But I was desperate to start living my second chance of life and needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

So, when my sister, a palliative care nurse in the community, suggested I volunteer to fill some time it seemed the perfect solution.

Before I knew it, I was shaking the Trust’s ELHT&Me charity collection buckets at a local bonfire event and Santa sleigh. It was great to socialize again and be part of something worthwhile. But more than anything, it felt good to be giving something back to the health service who’d saved me.

I was itching to get back to work but as my experience was in childcare, I was limited, so when a volunteering administration role came up in the Child Development Centre at Burnley Teaching Hospital, I knew it was my chance to get the necessary experience. And thanks to that I was able to apply for my current role, which I love.  

I work 20 hours a week and I’m also studying remotely for a business and admin course.

I’m proud of the NHS and everything it stands for. Without it, I wouldn’t be here today."

Find out how you can support ELHT here: https://elht.nhs.uk/elht.nhs.uk/elht-and-me-charity/campaigns/fundraise