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Cystic fibrosis patient writes for ITV News on what the organ donation opt-out means to her

Wales has become the first UK nation to make every adult a potential organ donor.

The new system will mean that people who do not want to donate their organs will have to formally opt out.

Kimberly Chard is waiting for a double lung transplant.

She writes for ITV News on what the changes mean to her.

Kimberly Chard is waiting for a double lung transplant Credit: Kimberley Chard

My name is Kimberly Chard, I'm 31 and I live in Wales with my husband and our pet hedgehog. I'm an artist. I have cystic fibrosis and as a result I'm waiting for a double lung transplant. I've been on the transplant list for nine months now - it's a waiting game.

My body is failing me. I'm struggling with the constant intravenous antibiotics that they have to keep me on to ensure I’m well enough for the transplant.

This year there has been a 5% decline in organ donors. I'm having to wait longer for a transplant and risk more complications. Ideally, I want to be healthier than I am right now for the transplant for a quicker recovery.

The risk of a longer wait is that I could become too unwell and unstable and as a result I could be taken off the transplant waiting list.

One in three people with Cystic Fibrosis die waiting for a transplant.

Kimberley on her wedding day Credit: Kimberley Chard

In September, I married the love of my life.

We kept putting off the wedding because of the transplant and the more we thought about it, the more we realised that we wanted to face the transplant as husband and wife, as we felt we would be stronger as a team.

It was an amazing day and we managed to plan the whole thing in two weeks from my hospital bed. We didn’t get to have a first dance or honeymoon as I’m too unwell. A transplant would mean we can do these things.

I want to be able to plan a future and not a funeral. I want to be able to do all the things that married couples get to do so easily. My husband has become my carer and does everything for me. I was such an independent person not so long ago. I want more for myself and my husband, I want him and my family to be happy and to not worry if I may not be here next year.

Having a transplant would mean the end of being stuck in hospital needing constant intravenous antibiotics, it would mean me getting back to my art studio and drawing again, would mean the end of the worry and the not knowing and being just me again. Needing a transplant could happen to anyone, I'd like others to consider what they’d do in my situation.

Would you take an organ if you needed one? If so, would you donate when you don’t need them anymore?

The new opt-out law that starts today in Wales can help change the lives of not only someone waiting for an organ, but their whole family.

It is creating an opportunity for people to talk about organ donation and to consider their choices. The new system doesn’t take away anyone's rights, as you still get to opt out and your families still get the final say.

By not removing yourself off the register is a gift in itself but please go further and tell your loved ones your wishes.

I'd like to see people talking to their families about their choices. It is such a hard time for grieving families to make that decision when they didn’t know their loved ones wishes, so take that hard choice away from them and make your organ donor choices clear. It could be the last legacy you or your loved one could leave and what an amazing legacy that could be, to save up to eight lives.

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These are the views of Kimberley Chard and do not necessarily reflect those of ITV News.