A YEAR ago today, Claire Davies got the phone call which changed her life.

The 34-year-old from Acomb in York had battled a rare heart condition for two decades and endured 18 months on a waiting list for the transplant which could give her the future she dreamed of.

After being told on three previous occasions the intended heart was unsuitable, it was fourth time lucky for Claire, who is now urging more people to back The Press’ Lifesavers campaign and become organ donors as she reveals how her life has been transformed.

Having once struggled to even get out of bed, she now runs her own business, and said: “A week before the phone call about the transplant, I couldn’t walk without a stick indoors and used a disability scooter outdoors.

“When I got that call, my husband and I thought ‘here we go again’.

“We thought we would get to hospital and they would say the heart was not suitable, but all of a sudden a nurse was telling us we had 20 minutes to ring any family and let them know I was about to undergo a transplant.”

Claire describes the following days as “a blur” and was unable to return home for seven weeks, with her body taking time to recover from the operation.

She was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which thickens heart muscles and affects one in 5,000 people, when she was 14, eventually leading to angina and an irregular heartbeat.

Although it rarely requires a transplant, the severity of her situation meant she learned in 2008 that she needed an operation.

“As anybody with a disability knows, everything is so very tiring, but now my energy is increasing,” she said.

“I feel so much better than a year ago and I am doing things now I never would have dreamed of.

“I have started my own business, Grace, selling home-made jams, preserves and crafts.

“Just to say I was out all day is unbelievable.

“Before, after an hour or two of doing anything I was exhausted.”

Claire has a simple message for anybody considering becoming an organ donor as Lifesavers aims to add 20,000 more names from our circulation to the register this year.

“It’s a very difficult and selfless decision, but it does make a real difference,” she said.

“If one person sadly lost a life, their organs could go on to make a difference to a number of lives. Look at me today.”