Family’s plea for more child organ donors

Jon and Danielle Roscoe with baby Otis
Jon and Danielle Roscoe with baby Otis

The parents of an eight-month-old battler have thrown their weight behind fresh calls for more youngsters to join the organ donor register.

Jon and Danielle Roscoe have spoken out after it emerged that less than half of families supported handing over life-saving organs from the under-17s.

Their son Otis has a condition called biliary atresia, which affected his liver and bile ducts, and he urgently requires a transplant.

If their wait proves fruitless Danielle, who works for Wigan Council, is prepared to donate a portion of her liver to aid Otis.

Jon, who is a watch manager at Wigan fire station, said: “We would urge anyone to sign up and to the register and help out children like Otis.

“He’s still quite poorly and we are looking for a new liver as soon as possible. But unfortunately he’s got quite a rare blood type.

“If we can get the word out on organ donation and encourage more people to sign up, we’d be very pleased.”

The couple have nearly doubled a £2,500 target they set themselves earlier this year, to support the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.

Baby Otis joined the pair for a trek up Snowdon and a Three Peaks hike, a charity music gig and an entry in the Wigan 10k have been among the highlights of their fundraising campaign.

A charity rugby match between Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Service has also been earmarked for next month.

To mark Organ Donation Week which ends tomorrow, new figures have been released which show that, over the past decade in Greater Manchester, 91 children, aged 17 and under have waited for a transplant. And there have been just 15 organ donations carried out over the same period.

An estimated 48 per cent of families are said to back organ donation for young people - but that compares to an average of two-thirds when all ages are taken into account, according to the NHS Blood and Transplant service.

Angie Scales, the service’s lead nurse for paediatric donation, said: “For many children on the transplant waiting list, their only hope is the parent of another child saying ‘yes’ to organ donation at a time of terrible personal grief.

“Organ donation can offer comfort to the families of donors through the knowledge that something remarkable came from their loss.

“There are many children alive today thanks to parents making the decision to donate when saying goodbye to their own child.

“Words save lives and we’d ask families this Organ Donation Week to talk about whether they’d want to save lives through organ donation if the unthinkable happened.

“We know that many children respond positively to the idea of organ donation so please talk about this important and life-saving subject.”

While in England and Wales children can join the organ donor register, parental consent must be obtained if the youngster was to die.

But in Scotland children can give their own authorisation from the age of 12 and parents can choose to add their child to the registers at any age.

Those wishing to register can do so online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or contact 0300 123 23 23 for more information.

Don’t put it off, sign up today. You never know when you or someone in your family will need a transplant.