Tanya Bothma has spent most of her life in and out of hospital. In 2017, Bothma had only 14% lung capacity and struggled to walk or breathe without difficulty.
A remarkable recovery
In December 2017, an organ donor was found, and Bothma received a pair of lungs. The operation was the first bilateral lung transplant to be carried out at a state hospital in South Africa.
Understandably, her new lungs have entirely transformed her life.
She says, “Waking up and taking a deep breath is the most liberating thing ever. I am able to do things which were only a dream before; those little things that others take for granted.”
The gift of life
A regular runner at her local Park Run, Bothma is eternally grateful for her second chance at living a normal life.
She continues, “I also lost my uncle and brother [who was an organ donor] in the same year as my transplant and know that being a donor is a gift to one family, and at the same time means tremendous pain for another family. For this reason, I live life to the fullest and if I can do something today, I will. Every day is a new day, be thankful, smile and be happy. You only have today so make the most of it!”
Bothma has immense respect and gratitude for the doctors who assisted her with her transplant, and for her fellow patients who are now her friends.
“Without my amazing pulmonologist Dr Greg Calligaro and surgeon Dr Tim Pennel, this second lease on life would never have been possible. I still go through to Groote Schuur on a regular basis to be treated by Dr Calligaro and always get the warmest greeting from him and the staff at the unit. I have met so many other recipients and love my clinic days … Long-lasting friendships have been made, with people having the same struggles and stories.”
Making her donor proud
Bothma is committed to making her donor proud. She is committed to giving back, as well as being determined to create awareness around organ and tissue donation.
The Great Optimist Race
On 19 October, the Great optimist Race will be held at the Cape Town International Boat Show.
The race involves 40 celebrities, corporates, charities and medical survivors navigating the V&A Waterfront harbour waters in Optimists (children’s dinghies). The participants will be competing to raise the most money for their chosen charity and the Little Optimist Trust.
“I want to give back to society,” says Bothma. “I am raising funds for Groote Schuur’s Lung Transplant Unit because I want others to experience what I have – a new breath, a life-changing experience.”
If you’d like to support Bothma in the Great Optimist Race, visit the link www.backabuddy.co.za/charity/profile/the-great-optimist-race.
The Cape Town International Boat Show runs from 18 – 20 October this year.