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A lifesaving gift is on the Christmas list of 106 people in Nottinghamshire this year.

Posted onPosted on 3rd Dec

106 people in Nottinghamshire are facing Christmas on the waiting list for an organ transplant.

They have joined more than 6,000 people across the UK, including over 180 children, awaiting a life-saving gift.

Families in Nottinghamshire are being urged to share their organ donation decision this festive season, so that their loved ones know what they want when they die and more patients can receive the transplants they need.

There are currently 6,186 patients in need of an organ transplant in the UK, and 185 of them are children.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year, however away from the rush and bustle of preparing for the holiday it should also be a time for family and thinking of others.

“We are urging everyone in Nottinghamshire to take a moment to think about the people who will spend their Christmas hoping for just one thing; a life saving organ transplant. Would you like to help if you could? If you needed a transplant, would you want someone to donate to you?

“Please let your family know what your organ donation decision is so that we can save more lives. Every precious organ donor allows more families to spend special times together.

“A quick chat can save lives, and we know that even at a time of grief families take enormous comfort and pride from their loved one’s donation.”

Keith Buckley, aged 74, from Nottingham, sadly died in December 2015 after falling off a ladder while putting Christmas lights up at his home. The retired fire officer suffered a serious head injury, his kidneys helped two people. His daughter, Jane Stubbs, is facing her fifth Christmas without him but gains comfort from the fact that he saved lives by becoming an organ donor.

Jane, from Nottingham, said: “It was unexpected and was absolutely devastating. I never imagined something like that would happen to my dad. You think they are invincible. It was the last thing we thought we would have to be dealing with at that time of the year. There is never an easy time to lose someone, but Christmas just seems even worse.

“Something positive had to come out of something so tragic and it was what my dad wanted. My dad had never talked about organ donation or dying but I wish we had talked about it. He had already signed up to the organ donor register, but I wonder if he ever thought it would apply to him?

“You just want to make sure you are doing what he wanted, and I would not have gone against his wishes. There is nothing to fear by allowing your loved one to be a donor. Our experience was amazing. The hospital staff were so caring and compassionate. Nothing was too much trouble. They made the whole thing more bearable.

“Both of his kidneys were used and two people received those.

“I hope they spare a thought for my Dad and for us and raise a glass or two to his memory. I hope they make the most of every day. It makes me feel proud knowing my Dad helped them to live. I don’t want them to feel guilty though – I know some recipients do – just carry on living.

“You try and focus on the positive happy memories, but it is hard. I miss him so much. We never got to say goodbye or tell him how much we loved him. As a family we will spend time together this Christmas. Life goes on. I love to talk about him and tell everyone how proud I am of him.

“Family at Christmas was very important to my Dad. He liked to have the family around him at that time of year. It was an opportunity for us all to come together, to have a laugh, and make some happy memories. He absolutely doted on his two grand-daughters. We love to talk about our family Christmas memories, particularly when I was a child and the things we used to do.

“I would urge everyone to have the conversation and to make sure they sign up to be an organ donor. If your loved one agrees to donate their organs make sure that you abide by their decision when they pass away. It’s not about your needs, it’s about what they wanted to do. I fully support the new legislation – most people would expect or demand to receive an organ if they or a loved one needed one. You should therefore be prepared to donate.”

From spring 2020 in England and Autumn 2020 in Scotland, the law around organ donation is changing. All adults in Nottinghamshire will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate, known as ‘opt out’, or are in one of groups not covered by the new organ donation law. This system was introduced in Wales in December 2015 and in Jersey in July this year.

Families will still always be involved in organ donation, so it is vital that they know your choice. In the lead up to the change in law, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging families in Nottinghamshire to talk and share their decision. If the time comes, families find the organ donation conversation much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.

To find out more look out for the new TV advert, which explains more about the law changing in England next year and launches over Christmas. There is more information at www.organdonation.nhs.uk, where you can also join the NHS Organ Donor Register, amend your details and more.

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