From spring 2020 the laws around organ donation are changing. England will move to an ‘opt out’ system where all adults will be considered to have agreed to organ donation if they die.
Every day in the UK around three people die while waiting for a transplant. These changes are to ultimately save those lives.
South Yorkshire Police are supporting this change and one civilian staff member is keen to spread the message and encourage people to talk about organ donation.
Lee Colclough is a Witness Care Officer based in Sheffield who received a lifesaving kidney transplant in 2018
Lee explains the day her life changed, she said: “I had just finished playing a badminton tournament and I was feeling really tired and a bit drained.
“My eyes were blurry and everyone kept saying I needed to get checked out for diabetes. I was nagged into going to the doctors, managed to get an appointment, and had a blood test.
“I got a call from the hospital that evening asking if I had kidney problems. I said no and they told me I had some pretty serious problems with my kidneys and needed to see a doctor straight away.
“My kidneys were only functioning at four per cent and a few days later I was told that without dialysis I would only have about three weeks left to live.”
Lee was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that meant her body’s antibodies were attacking her kidneys. She needed a transplant to save her life.
Lee waited nearly four years for the phone call to tell her they had a kidney available from a deceased donor. She arrived at the hospital 90 minutes later to have final tests and was taken for surgery the following morning at 3am.
Lee doesn’t know anything about her donor but has written a letter of thanks to the family. She said: “Me and my donor’s family had life changing days that day. I got a new kidney, but they lost a loved one. My life was getting better but theirs had just been torn apart.
“You do have that on your mind, but it’s because of my donor that I’m able to go on living my life, so I’m very thankful.”
Lee is married with three grown up sons and has now been given the chance to see them get married and have children of their own.
Lee would like to encourage as many people as possible to sign up to the register before 2020 and also for people to speak with their families about their wishes.
She said: “Please sign the register. It only takes a couple of minutes to log onto a computer and sign up. Alternatively you can phone the 24 hour Organ Donor line on 0300 123 2323. You will be changing people’s lives, not only the recipients’ life but the lives of entire families.
“I would also like to ask people to speak with their family and friends to ensure they are aware of your wishes after your death. This is very important, as your next of kin have the right to refuse donation of your organs even if you are an organ donor.
For more information about organ donation, the changes in the law and how to register please visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/uk-laws/organ-donation-law-in-england/
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