Wigan intensive care nurse pens children’s book to encourage organ donation

An ICU nurse at Wigan Infirmary has published an inspiring children’s book in a bid to encourage families to consider the gift of organ donation.
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The book, Freddie and the Magic Heart, by intensive care nurse Mark Ainscough is now on sale and all proceeds will go to the national Donor Family Network Charity.

As a father himself, Mark was inspired to write the book to try and explain organ donation to children.

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Wigan Infirmary ICU nurse Mark Ainscough with his children's book, Freddie and the Magic HeartWigan Infirmary ICU nurse Mark Ainscough with his children's book, Freddie and the Magic Heart
Wigan Infirmary ICU nurse Mark Ainscough with his children's book, Freddie and the Magic Heart
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He said: “Often, people don’t think too much about organ donation until they are confronted with it in terrible circumstances.

“I tried to imagine how hard it would be to communicate this to a child and felt that it would be beneficial to have a children’s book that was engaging and fun to read about organ donation.”

The book was written under Mark’s pen name of “Mark James” and illustrated by Lulu McWilliams. It tells the story of a little boy who finds out there are thousands of people in need of organs and that his dying mum could help those people by giving her "recycled parts" to them.

Mark raised £2,510 via crowdfunding for the production and printing costs of the book, with the NHS Blood and Transplant Organ Donation committee providing up to £2,000 for the remainder of the printing costs and distribution of the book.

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Vikki Lloyd, specialist nurse for organ donation for NHS Blood and Transplant, based at WWL NHS Trust, encouraged Mark to pursue the crowdfunding idea when he approached her with his concept.

She said: “Intensive care units can be a very daunting place for young children, and it is often difficult to explain to them what is happening in a way that they would understand. Mark’s book does just that.

“It’s an amazing idea and not only will it provide invaluable support to children in that situation, but it will also help raise awareness of organ donation in the younger generation.”

Angie Scales, Paediatric Lead Nurse at NHS Blood and Transplant which oversees organ donation in the UK, said: “It is great that Mark has written a book aimed at children to raise awareness of organ donation and what happens when someone donates to save lives.

“It is good to have another way to explain to children the amazing gift their loved one is giving.

“I’m sure Freddie and the Magic Heart will help many families at a tragic time and prompt more family conversations about organ donation.

“We need families to talk about organ donation for all members of the family, including children, and to confirm their decisions on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

For more information about organ donation, please visit the NHS website www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.