Teen’s family back donor opt-out plan

Leah Davies
Leah Davies

THE mother of a Wigan teenager killed in a motorbike crash has backed calls to introduce an opt-out organ donation system.

This is following changes to the law in Wales, where individuals will be presumed to have consented for their organs to be donated unless they opt out.

Mandy Lawrenson, whose daughter Leah saved three people’s lives by donating her organs following her death last year, has backed calls for England to adopt the scheme.

Leah, 19, from Lowton, died following a three-bike crash at Martland Mill in which 18-year-old Ryan Smith of Golborne was also killed.

Following the decision, backed by Welsh MPs earlier this week, she said: “I think it’s a really positive step towards getting more people on the donation register.

“Although I’m glad me and Leah got the chance to speak together about organ donation, some people don’t have that opportunity and I think it’s great that those people’s organs will be used to give individuals their life back.

“Some people don’t have any objection to being an organ donor, they just never get round to putting themselves on the register or talking about it, so it’s fantastic that now those organs won’t go to waste and peoples lives can be given back to them.”

However, not everybody is dead set on the Welsh model for the opt out scheme.

Sally Hart, whose son Toby was killed in a cliff fall accident aged 16, has reservations, despite Toby being an advocate of the oragn donor system.

Toby died last summer, following the accident when he fell during a family holiday in Cornwall.

She said: “I have mixed feelings about the new law in Wales. I think it’s fantastic that more organs will be donated and more lives will be saved but I also think it’s very important that people sit down and have an in depth conversation about their wishes regarding organ donation.

“I feel that if people are automatically put on the register this may replace the need to have talks about the issue, which is so important, not just for the donor but for those around them.

“When Toby died, one of the easiest decisions we made was that he would donate his organs, because we had spoken about it as a family, I just don’t want the new law to stop this from happening.”

Both Mandy and Sally are advocates for organ donation. Mandy and the rest of Leah’s family will appear on BBC’s North West.

Mandy. from Lowton, added: “I think with all the media coverage regarding system changes and transplant week next week, it’ll get people thinking about what they’d do if the worst happened.”