Family and friends pay tribute to Clare in acts of kindness

A GLASGOW man has paid tribute to the woman he called his "transplant wife", who died while waiting for new lungs but helped save the sight of two people.

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Clare Cruikshank died of cystic fibrosis, aged just 27, before she could meet her friend Anders Gibson, 35, who also suffers from the condition.

Patients with CF cannot meet because of strict cross-infection rules. However, the pair were in touch every day by phone or email and had made plans for a trip to Disney World once they had new lungs.

Sadly, the call did not come in time for Clare, from Peterborough, and she passed away on April 15 last year after 10 months on the waiting list.

Despite her suffering, she told her family she wanted to help others through organ donation, and got her wish when her corneas were donated to save the sight of two people.

Anders is now supporting a campaign by Clare's family to celebrate her kindness and promote organ donation.

Tomorrow, the anniversary of Clare's death, the family will carry out random acts of kindness on strangers.

Anders, who lives in the West End, said: "Clare helped me through my own assessment for lung transplant, which in itself is a scary and nerve-wracking process.

"We spoke to each other one way or another everyday for a year and as a joke we referred to each other as transplant 'husband and wife.'

"Because of strict cross-infection rules due to our infected lungs we were unable to meet.

"However, after our old lungs had been removed we had plans to meet up and go on a trip to Disney. Sadly, that chance will not come."

He added: "Clare was a great supporter of organ donation and when the time came she knew she wanted to do what she could to help someone else."

Anders is backing the Evening Times' Opt for Life campaign, which is calling on the Scottish Government to introduce an opt-out system of donation, rather than opt-in, to increase the numbers of organs available.

Anders missed out on a transplant in February due to an infection after getting ready for the operation at Newcastle Freeman Hospital.

Since then he has missed out four more times, but remains hopeful he is "getting closer" to new lungs.

As part of the day's events Clare's mum, Ann, will be handing out flower seeds, her brother is doing a charity abseil and others are giving out sweets or handcrafted items.

Anders said: "Thanks to Clare two people can now see. What a great random act of kindness."

caroline.wilson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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