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Dying man whose belly swelled up until 'like he was pregnant' saved by extraordinary gesture; 'I promised to live the rest of my life the best I can as a thank you to the person who saved me'.

Byline: Max Clements

A man was told he had just two years to live when he went to hospital complaining of "tiredness" and "lack of appetite".

Danny Millward, 33, fromWarrington, complained of "feeling lethargic" before being rushed for specialist treatment.

Now he has spoken out about his battle to survive and to thank the stranger who saved his life .

Back in 2011, Danny was diagnosed with Budd Chairi syndrome, a very rare disease affecting one in a million adults, which causes blood clots around the liver.

He said: "In 2011 I had a shunt [tube] put in to my liver. I felt back to normal after that. I thought that would be the end of it."

For the next four years Danny went about his life as a drainage engineer.

But in late 2015, his physical state began to deteriorate.

He said: "I was feeling tired all the time and wasn't eating.

"I felt so lethargic. I'd only eat because other people made me eat.

"I'd been feeling like that for a while but, being a bloke, I was stubborn and ignored it."

But it was only when Danny's boss insisted that he get checked out that the true extent of his illness was revealed.

He said: "I originally went to hospital in Warrington but I was quickly transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham."

It was there that doctors revealed to Danny the harrowing news that his liver had failed.

He said: "After I arrived and had some tests done the doctor turned to me and said, 'You're not going home.'"

Danny was told that his liver was failing and that he needed an immediate transplant.

He said: "I was in a coma-like state but I was awake.

"The doctors told me I was dying. They said I had two years to live if I did not have a liver transplant."

In May 2016, he was put on the liver transplant list at Birmingham.

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When a suitable liver was found Danny went into surgery but he suffered an anaphylactic shock, a potentially deadly allergic reaction to the new liver which forced the surgery to be delayed.

After the abortive transplant attempt, Danny spent the next eight months waiting to find out if he would receive the life-saving surgery.

He said: "I was having fluid drained from my stomach every week. Every week my stomach would swell up and I'd look like I was pregnant.

"Things started to get emotional for me during those months after the first operation.

"Every time my friends and family looked at me they could see the pain in my face.

"I remember at one point I said to my mum that I'd rather die now than live with this pain any longer. The pain it was causing me and the pain it was putting on my family was awful."

Danny paid tribute to the role his friends and family played in getting him through the dark times.

He said: "My step dad was important to helping me get through it all. He made sure I was getting about and going out walking. Sometimes he'd take me out to the pub to see friends.

"Everyone around me kept me going."

Eight months after the first attempt, Danny was told that another liver had been found for him.

He said: "I got a phone call at 2:10 am from the hospital saying they had found another liver for me.

"I remember feeling very nervous because of what had happened the first time."

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Luckily, though, the second surgery was successful and Danny soon left hospital and was on the road to recovery.

After the transplant, he wrote to the family of the donor to express his thanks saving his life.

He said: "In my letter I said that a thank you will never be enough. I promised to live the rest of my life the best I can as a thank you to the person who saved me.

"Before the transplant I had nothing.

"Now I've met someone and I'm a father to two-year-old twins. I'm also a stepfather to an eleven year old."

Danny is speaking out to raise awareness for organ donation week and he wants to use his story to show people how they could save a life.

He said: "People assume that because I needed a liver transplant I was a heavy drinker but my problem was never drinking.

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"I thought that organ donation was just something you hear about and that it wouldn't affect me. I used to think that I would never need an organ transplant.

"I urge anyone to sign up to be an organ donor. It can save a life. It's a no brainer."

You canregister to join the NHS Organ Donor list here.

CAPTION(S):

Credit: Danny Millward

Credit: Danny Millward

Credit: Danny Millward

Credit: Danny Millward

Credit: Danny Millward
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Publication:Crosby Herald (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 9, 2019
Words:846
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