Tuesday, 12 April 2016

In Honour of Our Donors

On the 7th April, there was an unveiling and dedication ceremony for the Donor Family Network 'Gift of Life' memorial at the National Arboretum, Alrewas, near Lichfield. The memorial is to commemorate the lives of organ and tissues donors and acknowledge and celebrate the significance of what they have given in saving and transforming the lives of others. The most precious and wonderful gift that anyone could ever give. The ceremony was attended by the Duke of Gloucester, families of donors and transplant recipients and their families. 

The Donor Family Network is a leading donor family charity in the transplant community and aims to raise awareness of organ donation and provide support for donor families. 

As a transplant recipient I try to honour my donor every day in some way -  they are always in my thoughts as well as their family. I'm pretty certain most transplant recipients feel that way too. To have a national memorial for our donors is very important to us, as it signifies to others the miracle of leaving such a legacy and it gives us a place to visit and pay our respects to those that have both transformed and saved our lives. 

To have our donors publicly acknowledged to the world means so much to us recipients, as well as to their families. A national memorial is a huge statement highlighting the importance of organ donation to everyone. Personally, I cannot wait to go and see it and will definitely be visiting the arboretum this summer and hopefully with some other members of my 'transplant' family. 

I wrote my first book in honour of my donor and to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. It explains what it feels like to be living on the transplant list. I lived on the list for just over two years and it was an extremely difficult time when I knew that three people die each day on the organ donor register. There are still circa six thousand five hundred people waiting for a transplant and still three people die each day waiting for a transplant. That is why our donors and their families are so special to us. 

Extracts about living on the transplant list from 'Life is for the Living':

'We are ...treading warily through the sand, avoiding puddles left by the sea. Some of them are deep. We don't want to get our feet wet or sink...we are living on a list. The first day of living on a list and we are stepping cautiously.'

'I know I'm lucky to have survived this first year on the transplant list...Three people a day are still dying waiting for a transplant...One thousand and ninety five people won't have survived this year while I've been waiting...'

Below are links to news on the 'Gift of Life' memorial and the Donor Family Network website. 

The Donor Family Network

Photos: Donor Family Network 

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