Wigan widow welcomes record number of organ donations

Dave Hughes with son George
Dave Hughes with son George

More people than ever before donated their organs after their deaths last year, according to new data.

The Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2018/19 showed 59 people in Greater Manchester gave the gift of life.

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Nationally, there was a record number of organ donors, with 1,600 people saving lives over the last year.

However, the report also shows that across the UK 225 fewer people died in circumstances where they were able to donate their organs.

In Greater Manchester 177 people died in the past five years before they received the organ they needed.

Dave Hughes, from Whelley, died in May last year just 11 weeks after receiving a heart.

The father-of-one suffered from a congenital heart defect and waited more than five years for the transplant.

His wife Louise said: “It’s great to hear that organ donation was at the highest in Greater Manchester last year. It feels like all the hard work we have done to raise awareness will help others to receive the gift of life.

“Many people don’t think about becoming a organ donor until they hear a story or know someone in that position.

“All I can say is because somebody said yes to donating their organs and had that conversation with their family, I got to marry the love and my life and Dave got an extra 11 weeks with myself and our son.”

Organ donation is relatively rare in the UK, because only around one per cent of people die in circumstances which allow organs to be given.

From spring 2020, a change in the law will mean all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate or are in an excluded group.

Families of potential donors will still be asked to support their decision to be a donor, so people are urged to tell their loved ones what they would like to do.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their final act to be saving lives through organ donation.

“No life-saving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation.

“There are 291 people in Greater Manchester waiting for a transplant now. Their only hope for a new life is that a family in their time of grief will make the wonderful decision to agree to organ donation.

“With the law around organ donation changing in England from next spring, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”

To become a donor, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk