Falkirk cartoonist Jim will be eternally grateful for his second chance

By Jim Barker
By Jim Barker

Falkirk Herald cartoonist Jim Barker has spoken of the second chance he has been given thanks to an organ donor.

The 64-year-old had been unwell for several months because of a liver disease, which caused fluid to build up in his stomach and ate away at his muscles.

Jim post transplant.

Jim post transplant.

However five weeks ago he received the life changing news that a new liver had become available, and he underwent a transplant.

Now back home recuperating and looking to the future, Jim hopes that his story might encourage people to consider becoming an organ donor.

He explained: “I’d been unwell for several months. I was diagnosed with a liver disease called Ascites, which causes fluid build up in the stomach and I was having to go into hospital every couple of weeks to have my stomach drained.

“Typically it would drain up to 10 litres at a time – that’s five family-sized lemonade bottles.

Cartoonist Jim pictured a couple of years ago.

Cartoonist Jim pictured a couple of years ago.

“I was also becoming very weak and fatigued as the disease ate away at my muscles and body mass.

“The only permanent solution was a complete liver transplant and it was only about five weeks ago they managed to find a suitable liver.”

Jim received the news that a suitable liver had become available in the early hours of the morning and was quickly admitted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

“I was wheeched through to Edinburgh Royal specialist transplant unit and under went an eight hour operation,” he continued.

“I was in Edinburgh Royal and latterly Forth Valley Royal for nearly three weeks to recover and build myself up.

“I’ve now been home for a fortnight.

“The transplant has been very successful. Pre-op I felt very depressed and ill.

“Post-op I’m more positive and, while I have a long way to go before I’m back to normal, I’m certainly feeling much better.

“Given the deterioration of my body I was told that if I’d left it much longer it might have been too late.

“I do feel I had a narrow escape and I will be eternally grateful to the anonymous family who donated my replacement liver.

“They really have given me a second chance.

“If you’ve never thought about it, can I suggest that you consider obtaining an organ donor card?

“The difference you might make to someone’s life is immeasurable.”

The British Liver Trust is the leading adult charity for liver disease in the UK and has lots of information on their website here

To find out more about organ donation click here