TWO people who were waiting for life-saving organ transplants are now walking around fit and well - after a care worker donated her kidneys and heart valves.
Cathy Boydell-Sheldon died more than six months ago from pneumonia - but signed up to the organ donation register before her death at the age of 56.
At the beginning of February this year, the long-serving children’s home worker got a cold and was complaining of shortness of breath.
When her wheezing got worse, an ambulance was called but rapidly deteriorated.
As part of Organ Donation Week - which runs until Sunday - her sister Anne Sewell choose to speak out in the hope of inspiring others to do so.
Anne, 65, said: “Cathy never looked her age, was never poorly, not one for calling the doctor and she could be a real joker.
“She worked for Barnsley Social Services in a children’s home in Carlton - she’d been there 34 years with 32 of those working night shifts.
“She was working right up to nine months before she died.
“The problem was the oxygen level in her lungs but she didn’t seem so poorly - she was talking and laughing and joking when she got into hospital and well enough to have a meal.
“They put her on oxygen and a consultant came and said Cathy couldn’t breathe properly on her own.
“Two days later she was on life support.
“They tried everything but she had pneumonia, so they decided to take her off life support and it took an hour and 40 minutes for her to take her last breath.
“It was horrendous.”
Anne and Cathy had talked about organ donation previously and had signed up to the donor register.
The sisters, both divorced, shared a house in Dodworth and were the best of friends.
They also shared an almost crushing burden of bad luck, only getting through it because of their close bond and sense of humour.
In addition, the two sisters had lost their other sister Marie, aged 63, and their brother Peter Boydell, 58, to heart attacks.
The family also have an inherited condition called haemochromatosis, where iron levels in the body slowly build up over many years.
Anne added: “Now I am the only one left out of four siblings.
“I still cannot believe Cathy was so seriously ill - even now I’m not sure what happened.
“I’ve since had cards from the two people who benefitted from Cathy’s organ donation.”