From ‘Land’s Beginning’ to ‘Preston North Beginning’ football club, famous ‘Ends’ are turning into ‘Beginnings’ to mark the start of Organ Donation Week.
Every day across the UK, around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors.
Currently, around 6,500 people are on the waiting list for a transplant. Yet, of the approximately half a million people who die each year across the UK, only around 1% (5,603) die in circumstances where their organs could be donated.
With such small numbers of people dying in the right circumstances to become an organ donor and so many adults and children in need of a transplant, it is vital that no opportunity for someone to become a donor is missed.
Because of this, the club is delighted to be supporting the week-long national campaign which began yesterday.
Many people believe that all you need to do to show you want to be a donor is to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, if you die in circumstances where you could become an organ donor your family would be approached by specialist nurses and asked to support your decision to donate.
NHS Blood and Transplant figures show that only 47% of families agree to organ donation if they are unaware of their relative’s decision to be a donor. Yet almost 90% of families give their consent (or authorisation in Scotland) when the decision to be an organ donor is known.
Natalie Kerr, from Adlington, near Chorley, knows first-hand what it is like to be given the chance of a new beginning. Natalie, aged 34, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension after giving birth to her second child in 2008, causing damage to her heart and lungs. She was stable for around a year but then started deteriorating and struggled to be the mum she wanted to be. Natalie was listed for a transplant in 2011 and continued to deteriorate.
Natalie says: “I knew time was running out. I desperately wanted to be here for Brandon and Isabelle, but I had just had enough of being poorly, I was so ill and had been for so long that I felt like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. It was a heartbreaking time for us all.”
Just as she was feeling she couldn’t go on much longer, she received a call to say there was a donor and she could have her lung transplant. Within weeks Natalie was home and recovering. The former nurse is now loving being a mum to Brandon and Isabelle.
Natalie says: “It was a new beginning, a fresh start, and I’m so grateful to my donor. It’s hard to explain but just to be able to breathe is incredible. I’d been ill for a long time and couldn’t be a mum. Now we spend quality time together and make memories, it’s amazing. It’s all the little things in life I treasure, being able to walk Isabelle to school, seeing her face as she goes in and seeing her face when she comes out and I’m there. I wouldn’t be if it
wasn’t for my donor.
“My transplant gave me a future with my children, what a legacy to leave – they have their mum because of my amazing donor and their family. Please think about organ donation and talk to you family about it, it’s a wonderful thing.”
Andy Haythornthwaite, Head of Community at Preston North End, said: “We hope to inspire more people from Preston to Turn An End Into A Beginning by talking about organ donation.”