Thursday, 10 July 2014
A Successful National Transplant Week
I think this year's National Transplant Week has been a great success. There have been stories and news about organ donation and transplant in the papers, on the radio and on the television all week long. Hopefully they will help to raise awareness of all the issues regarding transplant and organ donation and get people thinking about it and discussing it with their families.
I think the the theme of 'spellitout' has been a really good one and believe campaigns like this are so important so people can make their own informed decisions on whether organ donation is for them or not. It is probably unlikely for families to find themselves in a position where they will need to decide whether or not to donate a loved one's organs. At least if they have had a discussion about it, then they will feel more able to make a decision on what they feel is the right thing to do for their loved one and for them as a family should they ever find themselves facing this agonising dilemma.
It was great to take part in such an important campaign and fantastic to see how the whole 'transplant' community rallied together including donor families, transplant recipients, NHSBT and transplant hospitals. We also have to thank the press, radio and TV for so actively supporting us and my special thanks go to BBC 3 Counties Radio and the 'Weekly News' newspaper for giving me the chance to play my part.
We finished off the week by celebrating at a special event at Papworth Hospital held especially for National Transplant Week. For me it was a celebration of having been lucky enough to receive my transplant and getting the most precious gift of my new heart and lungs. For the last two years I've attended the event as a patient on the transplant list. Last year I said to one of the nurses, who had organised the event, that I would really like it if I could come back next year having had my transplant. Well I got my wish and my dream come true thanks to my wonderful selfless donor and her generous family.
My donor is forever part of me on my journey through life now. I've listened to several 'donor' families speak about their decision to donate this week and it has felt both heart warming and humbling to hear them talk of the comfort it has given them. I listened to one mother who really moved me when she said on the radio that she wakes up every morning and thinks of the recipients and them making the most of their new lives. This is where 'donor' families and 'recipient' families have an intangible link even though we do not know each other. Every morning when I wake up I do a very similar thing, I think of my donor and the new and transformed life they have given me. Not only have I been given the gift of a second chance at life, but they have given me the gift of knowing how delicate and precious life is. The gift of knowing I need to make every second count.