Liz S., born 1962. The TACKERS camp manager and owner of a sports shop from the canton of Valais received a liver transplant in 1998.
“Until I was 35, my life was like a fairy tale. When I was 18, I came to Anzère in the canton of Valais to ski – and that’s where I met René. We got married four years later, and were blessed with the arrival of our son, James, and our daughter, Zoé. We bought a sports shop and a small chalet. Our life was perfect. But then one day, after a routine examination for stomach ache, they told me they had noticed something suspicious in the X-rays. Following some additional tests, I was diagnosed with an epithelioid hemangioendothelioma – a very rare tumour that had appeared in my liver. I was told I would have to be placed on the waiting list for a new liver.
My world collapsed. I didn’t know anyone who had received a transplant before. I thought that everyone who survived a transplantation had to live out the rest of their life as an invalid. That life would never be the same again. My children were six and eight years old back then, and the only thing that could give me any feeling of comfort at the time was taking the two of them in my arms and burying my face in their hair.
Nine months later, I got my new liver. Somewhere in Switzerland, a young man died in tragic circumstances, and I was one of several people whose lives he saved following his own death. That was our fate, and since then we have achieved great things together.
I regret nothing, and I have learnt a lot in the last 15 years. It really was a gift of life that has allowed me to watch my children grow up. René and I will soon be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary.
My mother always used to tell me: ‘Always turn a minus into a plus’. Her wise words led to me bringing TACKERS (Transplant Adventure Camps for Kids) to life, which is run in collaboration with Swisstransplant. Every year, we organize an international event in Anzère for children who have received transplants. We also organize conferences on the topic of organ donation and transplantation. In addition, I compete in the winter and summer World Transplant Games, and in 2011, I was elected to the World Transplant Games Federation Council. And a few years ago I climbed Kilimanjaro!
I will never be able to thank the donor’s family enough – but I still thank them every single day. Merci à la vie!”