Transplant family backs National Transplant Week appeal

Stuart Wainwright, of Oakham, with son Sam, nine, and daughter Katy, six
Stuart Wainwright, of Oakham, with son Sam, nine, and daughter Katy, six
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A family says people who donate their organs give the gift of life and urged people to sign up to the register as part of National Transplant Week.

There are 157 people in Lincolnshire and seven people in Rutland who currently need a life-saving organ transplant and in the last four years, 43 Lincolnshire residents and eight Rutland residents have died due to the shortage of organs available.

The Wainwright family know exactly how important the service is after their son Sam had a liver transplant at the age of two.

Seven years later he is a lively, healthy boy and his family is appealing for people to join the organ donor register to give others the same gift of life.

Sam’s mum Toni, of Main Street, Cottesmore, said: “Being an organ donor wasn’t something we had even considered before Sam was born as you don’t ever think these things will happen to you.

“We very quickly understood what an enormous gift the family who made that decision had given to us and immediately signed up ourselves.”

Sam was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease biliary atresia at six weeks old and had surgery a week later to build a new bile duct. He then had a transplant two years later.

His dad Stuart said: “Sam’s donor gave him the gift of life and that has allowed our family life to be so special.

“He is now an active, musical, sporty nine-year-old who impresses us all with his love for life.”

On Sunday, Stuart will run the British 10k in support of the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, which works to raise awareness of the condition and gives support to families affected.

This week is National Transplant Week and a national campaign is under way to encourage more people to join the organ donor register and to make sure their loved ones are aware of their wishes.

Figures from the NHS Blood and Transplant Service have revealed that while 95 per cent of families agree to organ donation if a loved one has discussed their wishes, only 46 per cent of families agree when they weren’t aware of their relative’s views.

Sally Johnson, the director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said the family refusal rate for the UK was one of the highest in Europe.

She said: “We need a transformation in donor and family consent to organ donation.”

Videos about organ donation are available to view at www.youtube.com/transplantweek as part of the campaign, which runs until Sunday.

Mrs Wainwright, a teacher at Oakham CE Primary School, said: “It’s very straightforward to sign up and we fully support the programme. We will always be grateful someone chose to make the decision at such a difficult time.”

To join the NHS organ donor register call 0300 123 2323, visit www.transplantweek.co.uk or text DONATE to 62323.