We never thought about organ donation at all… until our child’s liver & kidneys stopped working.
More than 10,500 people need an organ transplant in the UK and currently 3 people a day die on average waiting for an organ; but even children who are prioritised in the matching system still wait on average over 9 months for a kidney. Many die waiting for a suitable match, yet 71% of us have not signed up to allow our organs to be used when we pass away and no longer need them. We can and should change this! We believe that everyone in the UK should be on the organ donor register – it should be something we all do regardless of age or other perceived barriers. It costs us nothing but can save many other lives when we ourselves pass on.
Donors Save Lives founder Philip talks to the BBC about the importance of organ donation and how you can tell people about your wishes on your facebook timeline.
The photos below are real children who have been saved by a one or more organ donors – read their stories below.
The Donors Save Lives cause is here to raise awareness of all transplantation issues, but particularly for issues in children all the way from birth. Few of us like to think about it but sometimes childhood disease is so serious that the only option is organ transplant, but there is a chronic lack of donor organs which leaves some children waiting years or simply dying waiting for the right donor organ to become available. We can’t fix everything, but we can greatly tilt the odds in favour of making an organ more likely to be available by getting many more people to sign up to the UK Organ Donor Register. If you have fears or other worries about doing so, we have a very active facebook page where you can ask questions (however silly you might think they sound) and get real answers from the transplant community.
Child Organ Recipients
Kian was 5 weeks old when the health visitor, unsure about his poor feeding and persistent yellow appearance, suggested we have a check-up at our local hospital. We could not have known at that stage what was about to happen.
Jade was born with a serious heart defect. Read how a new heart has helped her survive…and thrive.
Rachel Warden wanted to become an organ donor when she died. We can all learn something from her example.
Our family made the choice of organ donation when my little boy, Calvin, died after a road accident in 2008. He was 11.
Calvin became an organ donor and changed the future for 5 people including 2 children.
Why is it so important you sign up?
The best form of treatment for children with severe irreversible kidney failure is kidney transplantation. Although we aim to use a living relative to donate their kidney for the majority of our patients, this is not always practically possible. Those remaining patients hopefully will receive kidney transplants from people who die but who had registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Over the past ten years, the number of children on the waiting list for deceased donor kidney transplants has doubled, yet the number of children receiving them has almost halved, highlighting the importance of registering on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Dr Stephen Marks, MD, MSc, MRCP, DCH, FRCPCH
Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist and Clinical Lead for Renal Transplantation
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, UK