Readers’ letters - January 4

Correspondent Simon Howell celebrates Christmas with his family ' see letter about his appeal for organ donors
Correspondent Simon Howell celebrates Christmas with his family ' see letter about his appeal for organ donors

Giving the ultimate gift

Back in November, I helped launch an NHS campaign to get more people talking about organ donation and signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. I was filmed for 14 hours to highlight how frustrating it is waiting on the transplant list. It’s six weeks later, another Christmas gone, and I’m still waiting for a kidney. And I am not alone, thousands of people are waiting for a transplant.

I’ve spent six Christmases in a row waiting on dialysis, and a seventh back before my first failed transplant. Seven out of 41 years. Another Christmas of hitting the wall part way through the day and having to stop and sleep. Another Christmas of taking myself away from my family to dialyse, four times on Christmas Day, four times on Boxing Day, four times every day. Next year will be even more restrictive. By then I’ll be on haemodialysis (where your blood is filtered by a machine) and then chocolate, mushrooms, cheese and potatoes will be added to the banned list. All the good stuff, really. Probably a lower fluid allowance too.

Clearly, my hope is that this was my last Christmas on dialysis, that next year I’ll have a working transplant and boundless energy to play with my growing kids.

That they can be proud of their daddy back at work as a doctor.

I also hope that this is the last year in which 40 per cent of families say no to donation taking place when their relative could become a donor. We could save so many more lives if families said yes.

So this New Year, how about making a resolution to talk about organ donation? In the cosy post-Christmas glow, take a moment to turn to your loved one during an advert break and say ‘If something happens to me, please let me donate’. Try out your shiny new tablet or phone and point it to www.organdonation.nhs.uk and sign the register.

Give the ultimate gift.

Simon Howell

Address supplied

God: How do we know?

As an agnostic Christian, I feel like I needed to respond to Mr Watts’ letter (WEP January 2). There are good stories in the Bible, true, and I don’t believe anyone should take it all literally, but that doesn’t mean there are no spiritual truths in it like forgiveness, love your neighbour (even love your enemy) and not judging.

Jesus Christ may be the only Son of God, or maybe ‘just’ a wise teacher, but whatever or whoever he was, he was certainly a lot more enlightened than most of the humans on this planet now.

As for God’s existence, well, as a mere human, all I know is the universe is immense. There could be a God. He/She may be a being or maybe an energy.

Unlike Richard Dawkins and Harry Watts, I admit there may be much about the universe we don’t know, including whether there is a God.

Too often atheists in their naivety blame religion for all the ills in the world.

Abolish religion, and you will still have conflict and war. The problem isn’t religion, it’s people and their lust for power and money.

Although, true, religion can be an excuse for such evil. But if no religion, there would be another excuse, racism or nationalism maybe.

And as for being a minority during Christmas time, Christmas can be as religious and secular as an individual wishes.

Someone else’s beliefs can seem very odd to us, but tolerance (by religious and atheists alike) is much needed in this harsh world.

I do believe that if someone is kind to people and animals, then whether they be atheist, Christian, Muslim, or a follower of a different faith, then to my mind, they are on the right track.

Jane via email