VOLUNTEERS WEEK, ELIZABETH COSTELLO

We were touched by this personal message from Elizabeth Costello. Elizabeth leads the award-winning Leigh Film Society, and we are always so impressed by her motivation and dedication to community cinema. This article was printed by Wigan Council, for a piece about saying ‘thank you’.

The person I would like to thank isn’t here to say thank you. I don’t know their gender, I don’t know their name, I don’t know anything about them. All I know is that the kindness of this stranger is the reason I am here today.

Following cancer treatment, I had renal failure and spent five years on renal dialysis, 3-4 days a week, being kept alive by a machine, never knowing if things would change.

In 2012, the phone call came to say that a compatible kidney donor had been found. The call came in the middle of the night so I just knew immediately what it was and my heart started racing.

I’d like to tell me donor that when you’re given a second chance at life it forces you to think about what’s important. I decided to put my knowledge of film to good use and, in 2013, I set up a film society. Six years later, we have an amazing team of people and use film screenings to fight against social isolation, create opportunities for young people and bring the community together.

To my donor, I would say that I want more than anything to make you proud and to make my life count for something so that your decision to leave the gift of life was worth it.