A sufferer from kidney failure has spoken of the debilitating effects of her condition and her desire for a normal life.
Christy Millar, 29, of Great Sutton, now a long-term dialysis patient, was first taken ill in March 2006 while studying for her geology degree in Liverpool.
Less than 48 hours later, she was fighting for her life in hospital after suffering severe complications when her appendix ruptured.
Both her kidneys failed as a result and the subsequent blood poisoning left her in hospital for six months.
Devoted partner Steve, 34, a geological engineer who is now her husband, volunteered a kidney but the living donation, made in October 2009, failed after 30 seconds.
“It didn't even have time to reject, the blood couldn't get through to the kidney as an artery had been damaged.
“So it failed on the operating table,” says Christy.
Despite her many operations, Christy adds: “The rest of me is almost back to normal but my kidneys never recovered.
“So now I dialyse three times a week and have been doing for seven years straight.
“I recently got my first call in for a transplant after being on the list for three years but it wasn't to be that time.
“It was amazing what Steven did, but my only hope now is to stay on the donor list.”
The issue of how renal care needs to be improved and how patients can become more involved in the management of their disease has recently been highlighted by Kidney Research UK, of which Christy is a big supporter and fundraiser.
The charity points out Christy is one of 6,000 people in the country currently on the kidney transplant waiting list who are frustrated by the lack of donor organs.
Meanwhile, she undergoes dialysis at the Countess of Chester Hospital, three times a week for four hours at a time, a choice she made through educating herself about the options available.
But that does not prevent her from being an active blogger for the research charity and working as a ‘mad scientist’ throughout the North West, providing fun and interactive science sessions for children in schools.
“I'm about to start my third term as a mad scientist,” she says.
“Being a mad scientist involves teaching primary age kids science in a fun way.
“It's an after school club thing and we make silly putty, bubble solar systems and play with robots.
“Its nice and flexible and I visit the same schools every week for eight weeks.
“Other than that I do loads of volunteering for Kidney Research UK who have been a great support.”
Highlighting the need for more kidney donors, she added: “It's like everyone is speeding ahead with their 'normal' lives and we're trapped in this same situation for as long as it takes to find a kidney.
“I've been back on the list about three-and-a-half years now so I'm at about the average wait.
“It's so depressing!”
The couple have been advised they should not have children, leading Christy to add: “I wouldn’t wish what has happened to me on anyone.
“But I’m still here and I’m probably a stronger person for it.”