Gordon Steele, 62 from Airdrie, is choosing to look to his future after receiving a life-saving liver transplant in September 2017.
The father of two was diagnosed with ascites in 2014, which caused a build-up of fluid in his abdomen. He was able to manage this with medication, but two years later, doctors told him he had cirrhosis of the liver.
Gordon was assessed for transplant on his sixtieth birthday in July 2017 with tests showing a transplant was the only option.
Speaking about getting the call that a suitable donor liver had been found, Gordon said:
“Everything was a total blur. It was about a month after losing my wife, so I was dealing with that, and my health was in a really bad place. I always kept a bag by the front door and told people not to phone my landline, so when it rang that day, I knew instantly.
“After making the journey to Edinburgh, all I really remember from it is being wheeled down to theatre in the hospital bed.
“I got myself out walking as early as I could after the transplant. I joined my local ramblers club and remember doing my first hill walk, about a year after my operation. We stopped halfway for lunch and I remember someone asking me why I wasn’t looking back at the views like everyone else.
“I told them I choose not to look back because there’s been some dark times and we’ve all been through so much. But now I’m healthy, I’m with my new partner, Eva, and have two healthy daughters and grandchildren.
“About four months after my transplant I decided to write a letter to my donor’s family. I felt that because I had lost my wife during the process of waiting on and receiving my transplant I could relate to their grief on some level.
“I waited because I wanted to give myself time to think of the right words to express my sympathy for their loss and show my gratitude for what they’d done for me. I’m so thankful for what they gave me and just want to keep that gift as healthy as possible.
“I only want to look forward now and I’m determined to live to 110.”