A friend of mine, in his 30s, has just had a liver transplant.
Organ failure is a terrible affliction, but the gift of a new organ is priceless. Al knows it; this extract from his recent email speaks for itself:
I received a partial liver from a 20-year-old donor, the other part going to an 8-year-old boy who is doing well. I will get the opportunity to contact both the donor’s family and [the boy] which I will do that at some point. The liver should have grown to full size in a few weeks so things should start working even better.
The move back home is a bit of a challenge having to adjust to taking things very slowly. Despite still feeling pretty much battered and bruised it’s all just a matter of time and care now and feeling really positive about it all. I’m trying to move about as much as possible, get outside, even if just for a wander up the garden; it all helps.
Due to the nature of donor transplantation it’s obviously quite an emotional time for everyone and I am quite aware that my benefit has come at the price of someone else’s loss. But it’s knowing that a boy of eight has been given the opportunity of living a normal life again is the sort of thing that really makes organ donation such a wonderful thing and I believe everyone who can, should register as a donor, seems a waste not to. Obviously it is important to remember the families of those who have lost loved ones but I know it’s not going to be too difficult for me to remember and be thankful for my gift every single day.
It is normally impossible to thank the organ donor, but it is also a sacrifice for the donor’s family. They have already suffered the loss of their loved one and may feel resistant to the invasion of the remains. It is important to acknowledge this and to vindicate the donation by showing the death was not entirely in vain.
Like so many others before him, Al has much to be thankful for; it is the surviving family of his donor who will hear from him in due course.
Al has received a priceless gift. His donor was one of over 17 million on the register. That is a substantial proportion of the population. Despite that, 10,000 people in the UK are awaiting a transplant. Every day, on average, three of them die waiting.
More donors are needed. Will you be one of them?