Thursday, February 05, 2009


Column in the North-West Evening Mail

ALL it took was a tick in a little box to make a commitment which will stay with me for the rest of my life and maybe beyond.

What have I done? Simply offered parts of my body to others once I shuffle off this mortal coil.

However, what they harvest from is another question. I don’t think my eyes would be any good, given that I’ve worn milk bottle bottom specs for 40 years.

My liver and kidneys could have been treated with more tenderness I suppose, and as I’ve grown older the knees and other joints have become a bit rickety.

But what remains, if they want any of it, may help others have the gift of life.

Becoming an organ transplant donor couldn’t be easier as I discovered, and while I would advocate others to join the crusade, the thought of it may actually make some feel a bit squeamish.

My conversion came by way of receiving a new driving licence from the DVLA, but you can register on a website or by calling the NHS organ donor line.

I read on the NHS organ donor website today that more than 9,000 people in the UK need a transplant that could save or dramatically improve their life.

Most are waiting for a kidney, others for a heart, lung or liver transplant. But less than 3,000 transplants are carried out each year.

Transplants are one of the most miraculous achievements of modern medicine. But they depend entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to make this lifesaving gift to others.

There is a desperate need for more donors. Last year more than 400 people died while waiting for a transplant. One in 10 waiting for a heart transplant will die and many others will lose their lives before they even get on to the waiting list.

It makes sense that the more people who pledge to donate their organs after their death, the more others will benefit.

Every day you read of sick people who could return to a healthier life if they receive a body part.

And while it may be easy for adults to make a conscious decision about how they tackle their own future, I can understand how a parent would feel releasing body parts of their children or other members of their family if they have not registered.

However, despite it being a taboo subject for many, by choosing to join the NHS Organ Donor Register you could help make sure life goes on.

As I peered bleary-eyed through my bedroom window on Sunday morning something brought a smile to my face.

I had anticipated my daffodils would bloom soon, but seeing the tender petals shake out of their protective winter coats and burst into life was a joy to behold.

What made me feel even better was to see the first shoots of brightly-coloured crocus flowers battle their way through.

Suddenly the icy chills that we have been witnessing didn’t feel so cold.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

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