For two years and four months, Stacie Pridden has been waiting... and waiting... for the heart and lung transplant which will change her life. EMMA DUNN reports

SMILING, laughing and chatting together, Stacie and Megan Pridden look like any other twin sisters.

But while Megan is perfectly healthy, Stacie is waiting for a phone call to tell her she can finally have the double lung and heart transplant she desperately needs.

When she was 11, Stacie was diagnosed with a rare blood vessel disorder that affects her heart and lungs, called pulmonary hypertension.

She has been on the transplant list for two years and four months, and remains hopeful she will get the surgery that will save her life.

Her twin, Megan, got engaged to fiancé James Pryor last year and now the 23-year-olds are hoping Stacie will either get the transplant, or her health will remain stable enough, so that she can walk down the aisle with her sister as her maid of honour on her wedding day in 2016.

Stacie, of Pinehurst, who is 14 minutes older than her sister, said: “It’s worrying because the wedding is just about two years away and I have been on the transplant list for two years and four months.

“My aim at the moment is just to be at the wedding. I feel like if people don’t have aims they lose the will to live.

“I have small aims in between like going to Alton Towers. I can’t go on the rides but I’ll be looking after my nephews, which I’m looking forward to.

“They say you have got to carry on living while you’re on the list but it’s hard to pre-plan a lot,” said the former Wootton Bassett School pupil.

Stacie was born with three holes in her heart, which doctors operated on when she was a baby. It was the first of numerous operations for Stacie, who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002 after she kept collapsing at school.

Despite being on the organ transplant list for over two years, Stacie is confident she will get the organs to save her life.

“It’s been two years and four months, which is a very very long time. They say the average for heart and lungs is two years and I’m past that now.

“I am a very common blood type though which makes it harder to get the organs because there is so much need for them,” she said.

Stacie is constantly waiting for a call from an unknown number on her mobile, which could be the hospital telling her it’s time for the transplant.

During the time she has been waiting, Stacie has had two false alarms. The first was in May 2013, which was on what Stacie calls her 13-month ‘transplant listiversary’. The organs turned out not to inappropriate A second false alarm came in October 2013.

“With the second false alarm a car came and took me to Papworth. We were 20 minutes away from going to theatre. They did a last-minute check on the heart and found an issue with it,” she said.

“I thought it was actually going to happen that time and I was scared out of my mind.

“When they said I couldn’t have the operation there was a bit of relief in my mind, but I was a bit annoyed as well.

“But I know someone else got the lungs so it wasn’t a waste.”

Stacie formerly worked as a sales assistant at WH Smith in the town centre, but had to quit due to her health. She is currently studying a history degree with the Open University and hopes to do a PGCE after she finishes so she can become a secondary school teacher.

Being in the same school year, Megan was always there for her sister when their parents weren’t around. Even now, having a sister who is so ill is a part of life she and their elder sister Candice, 25, have become used to.

Megan, who is a ward clerk at Great Western Hospital, said: “I don’t know anything different – it’s normal for me. It’s only recently we noticed anything changing. Stacie can only walk a few steps now. She’s really starting to change.

“It makes me upset because she can’t do what she used to.”

Megan said she never considered for a second choosing anyone else as her maid of honour.

The wedding will take place at the Tythe Barn in Bath in May 2016.

“Stacie is my first and only choice. I don’t want anyone else. It’s as much her day as mine,” said Megan.

“Stacie and I just tend to have a laugh. We don’t dwell on things that might come or that have already happened.

“We just like to have a good time.”

Stacie added: “I’m excited for the wedding. I have got a really bad feeling we’re going to end up laughing. Back in school when we had class assemblies we would just end up giggling if we saw each other while one of us was on stage.”

Stacie writes a blog called ‘Life is Worth the Fight’ and has been shortlisted for best lifestyle blog in the Cosmopolitan blog awards.

She was also shortlisted last year, but missed out on the title. She is looked forward to going to the awards again this year though.

After the transplant, Stacie hopes to travel as she is not allowed to fly at the moment. She is also hoping to find a boyfriend.

“I have decided not to get involved with anyone until I have had the transplant,” she said.

“I wouldn’t want to bring someone into that situation. My friends and family have grown up with it and accepted it but to bring someone else into it that I didn’t know wouldn’t be good for them.”

Stacie, daughter of Beverley and Tony, encouraged everyone to join the NHS organ donor register.

“If you’re willing to accept an organ you should be on the donor list. Everyone deserves a chance to live,” she said.

“You can save up to nine lives by donating your organs, which is amazing.”

Stacie is particularly hopeful 2014 is going to be her year as the number 14 has a special meaning for her.

“Megan and I were born 14 minutes apart on the 14th of December, 1990 in the 14th hour of the day (2pm). My mum and her twin were born 14 minutes apart and so were our half brother and sister.

How transplants save hundreds of lives

In the UK between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014: 

  • 4,655 organ transplants were carried out, thanks to the generosity of 2,466 donors.
  •  1,328 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, liver or combined heart/lungs, liver/kidney or heart/kidney transplant. 
  •  3,301 patients’ lives were dramatically improved by a kidney or pancreas transplant, 188 of whom received a combined kidney/pancreas transplant. 
  •  There were 3,257 kidney transplant, 261 pancreas transplants, 206 heart transplants, 218 lung transplants, 924 liver transplants and 26 bowel transplants. A further 3,724 people had their sight restored through a cornea transplant. 
  •   A record number of 821 kidney transplants from donors after circulatory death took place and accounted for one in four of all kidney transplants. 
  •   1,114 living donor kidney transplants were carried out accounting for more than a third of all kidney transplants. ‘Non-directed’ living donor transplants (also known as altruistic donor transplants) and paired and pooled donations contributed 190 kidney transplants between them.
  •   Over 1,050,000 more people pledged to help others after their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register, bringing the total to 20,239,715 (March 2014).

    “My nephew was born on September 14 as well. It’s 2014, so I am hopeful.”

  •  To join the organ donor register visit

  •  To see Stacie’s blog visit