A young woman with a terminal illness is determined to keep fighting to survive long enough to see her twin sister get married.
After a childhood marked by mysterious blackouts and sickness, Stacie Pridden, 23, of Swindon, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002. She is currently awaiting a heart and double lung transplant.
As she awaits the life-saving transplant, she is preparing to act as her twin sister Megan’s maid of honour at her forthcoming wedding.
She said: “My body has to hold out a bit longer and there is a fight ahead of me, but I don’t doubt that I’ll be there to help Megan walk down the aisle.
“I’m determined to be there to celebrate her big day.”
Stacie, who was born with three holes in her heart, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a rare incurable blood vessel disorder in her lung, in 2002.
She said: “Being ill is all I’ve ever known.
“My dominant memories from my school days were fainting during class, being ferried to and from hospital, going through operations and being given all sorts of medication.
“I know that if I had been on my own, it would have been impossible to deal with, but luckily Megan’s been by my side from day one.”
Megan, 23, said: “When we were at junior school, Stacie took part in a three-legged race and collapsed at the finishing line. After that she started fainting regularly, and I began watching her carefully.
“I helped her calm down and catch her breath when she she became ill at school. I went to lots of hospital appointments with her, so I was aware of the health challenges we were facing as a family.
“Her illness means that our circumstances are very different, but we’re alike in most ways. We share everything and have similar interests – mainly our obsessions with TV shows and films. There’s honestly nobody I prefer spending time with.
“Stacie is my best friend and my twin sister all rolled into one.”
When she was 11 years old, Stacie was admitted to to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where her illness was diagnosed and doctors first mentioned the need for a major transplant operation.
She was officially put on the transplant list when her condition significantly worsened after her 18th birthday.
Stacie, who also has an older sister, Candice, 25, said: “Being on the transplant list is quite difficult to describe – you can’t help but keep thinking about when you’re going to die.
“In the first years you’re certain that the call will come. But the longer you’re on the list, hope starts to ebb away. Although I’ve remained determined and optimistic, I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I might not get the operation I need.
“The important thing is not to give up. I’ve found that a powerful way to stay hopeful is to imagine all the things I will get to see and do in the future – one of my most important dreams is seeing both my sisters get married.”
Stacie will have such an opportunity when Megan marries her fiance, James Pryor, in 2016, following their engagement in January 2014.
Megan said: “Stacie’s never been resentful of the fact that our lives have been so different. She’s always taken a huge interest in my life and it was her I turned to for advice when I started getting serious boyfriends.
“I knew straight away that Stacie would be my maid of honour.
“Every day I pray that she will hang on. The thought of not having my sister there when I get married is devastating.
“It’s such a huge even in a girl’s life – to go through it without my twin by my side would be unthinkable.”
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