“The only way people will ever have a second chance at life is through organ donation.”
These were words shared only days ago by 25-year-old Nardya Miller from Ipswich in Queensland.
Now, she’s no longer with us.
The makeup artist, who struggled with cystic fibrosis for 23 years of her life, died yesterday.
But it wasn’t cystic fibrosis that killed her; it was the lung transplant she received a little more than two years ago. Miller suffered the rare condition of “chronic rejection”. Her body couldn’t accept her brand new set of lungs.
From all accounts, Miller was a remarkable fighter.
Remarkable in the way she lived with a condition that filled her respiratory system with mucus, that gave her sinus infections and bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia. The way she lived on through shortness of breath, regular stomach problems, weight loss and energy depletion.
Then, in 2014, "tired of living with lungs that didn't work", Miller lived through another hurdle: she made the decision to have a bilateral lung transplant.
Through all this, against all the odds, in moments where most of us would stamp our feet and lash out and wonder why things could possibly be so unfair, live she did.
She trained as a beauty therapist through Napoleon Pedris. She started her own business, Immaculate Makeup and Beauty.
Miller travelled to clients' houses, providing spray tans, make-up and false eyelashes. The brand's Facebook page is filled with love and testimonials for this self-proclaimed "lash slaya".
She was in the midst of opening her own beauty studio, purchasing a property in Ipswich to do it, and was planning to marry her fiance Liam Fitzgerald.
But Miller didn't realise how sick she was.
"After the first 11 months post-transplant, being so perfect, the lungs started to fail, over and over again requiring treatments she never thought she would have to go though," Fitzgerald told The Courier Mail.
“She went through rounds of plasmapheresis to try stop donor specific antibodies, but nothing worked.”
Plasmapheresis is a procedure where the plasma in your blood is drawn out and replaced with newer, healthier plasma.
On December 21, 2016 Miller closed her business temporarily. "Due to unfortunate health circumstances, business will be closed until further notice," she posted to Facebook alongside a 'Be back soon' image.
"But I promise I will be back doing what I absolutely love for my clients I absolutely adore as soon as I am able. Thank you for all your understanding, support and kindness so far, it does not go unnoticed!"
Then, January 10 came and, all of a sudden, Miller was in palliative care. Her cousin started a GoFundMePage because "Nardya [dreamed] of not leaving her fiancé in debt."
"She is losing the battle, she needs a oxygen 24 hours of the day," the GoFundMePage read. "Nardya will not be going home, she has been given a week to live."
On January 11, Miller posted to her business' Facebook page for the final time.
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce the official closer of my life-long dream. Immaculate Makeup and Beauty will close its doors forever as a life comes to an end," she wrote.
"I want to take this time to thank each and every client who have become such amazing friends along the way and have supported my little dream whole-heartedly which turned into a reality and of course for always staying loyal to your Lash slayer. I love you all so much and I hope you continue to find the beauty in everything."
She died yesterday, January 25. The GoFundMePage has raised more than $33,000.
Not many of us know what it feels like to live your whole life ready for death; to be told from a young age that "you won't live much past your teenage years".
Then, to go through the trauma and the recovery and the oh-so-cruelly-deceiving hope of an organ transplant that would eventually be rejected.
Not many of us could show the same spirit and motivation living a life where five years, or two years, or even six months in the future feels like an impossibility.
In her short life, this 25-year-old beauty therapist from Ipswich has lived a full life. Nardya Miller has loved and helped people. She has fought, and been let down. She has followed her dreams and turned them into realities.
But her overarching legacy - that organ donations are "the only way people will ever have a second chance at life" - should not be forgotten.
Not many of us can truly understand. But, we all know, there is too, too much at stake.