How do you make an anniversary truly special? By jumping out of a plane, of course! To mark the 14th anniversary of her life-saving liver transplant Grace Millar skydived 15,000 feet to raise £8,364 for our TLC Appeal, helping to Transform Liver Care for children and young people.
When Grace was just 9 weeks old she was diagnosed with Bilary Atresia, a rare disease affecting the liver and bile ducts. As a tiny baby, she was admitted to King's College Hospital for immediate surgery - the first of what would turn out to be many.
"I spent my first couple of years in and out of 10 different hospitals with many liver related illnesses, but was always admitted to King's when things got really bad", Grace said.
"When I was two years old we were presented with the news that I would never get better – the only option was a transplant. At this time, it was a relatively new technology and completely terrifying for Mum and Dad."
Grace was listed for a transplant in August 2005, and as Christmas came and went, her health seriously deteriorated.
"I was mustard yellow with jaundice, had a huge distended stomach, my legs and arms were stick thin, my nails were notting and I had big yellow eyes."
But finally, at 2am on 11th May 2006, the call came. They had found a liver. It was Grace's turn at last.
"After a 10 hour operation, I had my new liver - which, quite literally saved my life."
Six weeks later, Grace was home, happy and healthy with white eyes for the first time since she was born. And 14 years on, she is a happy and healthy teenager, playing lots of sports and living a full, normal life.
"Every child who receives a transplant needs ongoing support, and King's transition service helps young adults take ownership of their medical history and achieve their goals of studying, working, or travelling and living a full life.
I will be on immunosuppressants forever, but now my condition is part of my life, it no longer takes over my life."
On 13th September 2020 Grace is skydiving to raise money for King's College Hospital Charity's TLC Appeal, which aims to Transform Liver Care for children and young people.
The target is to raise £1.5 million to advance research, buy cutting-edge equipment, rejuvenate the environment in the hospital and provide vital support networks for children and families.
"We were told in the very early days when we first met the team at King's that our relationship would be a long one and true to their word it has been. I still spend time at in the unit and see other bright yellow jaundiced children who I always hope will be as lucky as me."
"A challenge like this, quite literally terrifies me, but wish me luck because regardless I am going to jump 15,000 feet!"