A WOMAN whose life was transformed by a double lung transplant 20 years ago is aiming to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors by taking part in a Valentine’s couples relay.

Vicky Pettersen, from New Marske, near Saltburn, had the life-saving surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle in April 1999. Despite continuing health issues, she is still determined to enjoy the extra years it has given her by living life to the full.

Vicky and husband Erik are taking part in the 5k relay event on Newcastle’s Town Moor tomorrow.

Organised by Run Nation in partnership with the national charity Live Life Give Life, the day also features 10k and 5k events.

Mrs Pettersen said: “Without the transplant I would have died, leaving my then 28-year-old husband and four-year-old son. People have heard of transplants and the need for donors, but I think maybe they get the idea that it is only a temporary fix. My donor has given us 20 years as a family and the chance to see my son grow up.”

Live Life Give Life promotes organ donation, with the aim of eventually ending waiting lists for transplants. The charity has raised funds for Newcastle Hospitals and the trust’s Dr Emily Thompson received its latest travel fellowship.

Under the banner Let Love Live On, the Valentine campaign highlights how organ donation saves not just one person, but their family and friends, too.

Vicky and Erik enjoy nothing more than being outdoors and are working their way through the Wainwright walks in the Lake District.

She added: “I love to be outside and always try to be active. My health is up and down so what I can achieve often varies from year to year, but I love my life. My husband and I spend our spare time walking together in the lakes or by the sea.

"I managed the Freeman sports team for 4 years and also competed in the Transplant Sport - British Transplant games. taking part in the running, walking and cycling."

For more information about the charity visit livelifegivelife.org.uk