Have you had the conversation?
Why it’s good to discuss your decision to be an organ and tissue donor with your family
Every day across the UK around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren’t enough organ donors. At the same time, too many families who are faced with the possibility of donating a relative’s organs are unaware of what their relative wanted and find themselves having to make a decision on their behalf at a time of deep distress.
Currently only a third of people tell us that their family are aware of their wishes about organ donation. This matters, because a family will be still be consulted and asked for their support for donation to go ahead, even if their loved one is on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
That’s why we encourage people to talk to their families about whether they want to be a donor, to make it easier for them to support their decision if the worst were to happen.
Ollie Storey, 21, knows all too well the importance of people discussing their donation decision with their families. Ollie started noticing the effects of keratoconus when he was 17. His vision became blurry and distorted.
Ollie said, “I was going places but just as I was leaving college my eyes were giving way. I was completely heartbroken to be losing my sight.”
In October 2015, Ollie received a cornea transplant in his left eye. By the time a donor gave him the gift of sight, he was considered legally blind in his left eye as he only had the ability to perceive light. The recovery went well and now Ollie’s vision, though not perfect, has considerably improved.
Ollie said, “I am just so happy that someone and their family agreed to organ donation. I consider myself incredibly lucky.”
You can help to save or transform lives like Ollie‘s by signing up as an organ and tissue donor and talking about your decision with those closest to you. Visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
We will be highlighting the importance of telling families your organ donation decision during Organ Donation Week, 4th-10th September 2017. Please save the date and help spread the word by sharing our content on social media:
In this issue of The Donor magazine