30 May 2024

Katherine’s Story: Making a difference by taking on the Kiltwalk

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Katherine, her daughter Olivia and friend Tracy holding their medals at the finish line of the Kiltwalk

Katherine, Olivia and Tracy are three amazing people who took part in the Kiltwalk to raise money for NHS Lothian Charity. An event that’s not just about challenging yourself, it’s about giving back to the amazing staff that work within the NHS and making a real difference, just like Katherine did.

In 2008, Katherine Hogg’s life took a sudden turn when she welcomed her precious daughter, Olivia, into the world. Olivia was rushed into emergency care just a week after her birth. Doctors found that her intestine had wrapped around her pancreas, and she had to undergo an emergency operation. Thankfully, Olivia made a full recovery.

While dealing with the stress of Olivia’s condition, Katherine began experiencing health issues of her own. She had put it down to the stress of the situation. Despite several visits to her GP, Katherine was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed. Unfortunately, her health continued to decline, and she was referred to an NHS specialist. The specialist diagnosed Katherine with a rare condition called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), a chronic liver disease that causes inflammation, scarring, and eventual blockage of the bile ducts inside and outside the liver.

In 2022, I was referred to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Transplant Unit as my PSC was getting worse. I had been living with the condition for several years, but by November 2022, I became very sick and was extremely jaundiced. I had fluid retention and was in a lot of pain. It was a difficult time for me as a single parent, and I was worried about what would happen to my daughter if something happened to me.

“However, on the 18th of January 2023, I received a phone call that a liver had been donated, and I could receive my transplant. I was relieved and grateful that someone had saved my life by gifting me their liver. The transplant was successful, and I can’t thank the consultants and NHS Lothian staff enough for caring for me and saving my life. They were amazing throughout my transplant, when I was in high dependency, whenever I came for my check-ups, and when I received physio after the procedure. All the staff were brilliant, and they couldn’t do enough for me. Even the ward cleaner was fantastic.

“After my recovery, I wanted to do something to give back to the NHS Lothian staff who had helped me so much. So, this year, I signed up for the Kiltwalk to raise money for the NHS Lothian Charity Scottish Transplant Unit Fund. My best friend, Tracy, and my precious daughter, Olivia, walked with me, and we had a brilliant day. The route was pretty, especially Balloch, and there was music and lots of goodies. We chatted all around the route, which made the walk even more enjoyable.”

Olivia, Katherine’s daughter, shared her pride in her mum’s strength and resilience:

I’m so proud of my mum for everything she’s been through over the past year and I’m glad I could raise money doing the kilt walk for the people who saved her life.”

Tracy, Katherine’s friend shared:

It was an honour to complete The Kiltwalk with my amazing friend and Goddaughter to raise funds for the liver transplant unit.

“They have both been so strong and brave over the past few years where Katherine’s health had been deteriorating and to see her now so well and healthy and able to take on a challenge like The Kiltwalk is nothing short of a miracle!

“We are all forever grateful to her donor and the fantastic care she received at NHS Lothian and hope we can continue to raise funds and show our appreciation with another challenge soon!!”

Katherine is hoping to take part in the Kiltwalk again.

Next time I want to challenge myself by walking one of the longer distances. I am grateful to the family who donated their loved one’s liver, and I wrote them a letter to express my gratitude. I hope the family found comfort that their selfless act has given me a second chance at life, and I can now watch my daughter grow up.”

Nicola Sinclair, Head of Engagement at NHS Lothian Charity, said:

On behalf of NHS Lothian Charity and NHS Lothian staff and patients, I want to say a big thanks you to Katherine, Olivia and Tracy for walking the Kiltwalk and raising money. It is fantastic that they stepped and are making a difference for other patients, their families, and those who work tirelessly to save lives now and in the future.”

If you’d like to give back to our NHS, why not take part in the Kiltwalk this September. There is something for everyone, so make sure to check out the range of distances available.

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