118 people in Essex are facing Christmas on the waiting list for an organ transplant. They join more than 6,000 people across the UK, including over 180 children, awaiting a life-saving gift*.
Families in Essex are being urged to share their organ donation decision this festive season, so that their loved ones know what they want when they die and more patients can receive the transplants they need.
There are currently 6,186 patients in need of an organ transplant in the UK, and 185 of them are children (Active Transplant List 21 Nov 2019).
Julie Bartlett, aged 58, has been waiting for a heart transplant for nearly three years, and has been on the urgent list for 300 days as of Tues 3 Dec.
The Mother and grandma from Nazeing, Essex says: “Waiting for the call is the toughest thing I’ve ever had to endure in my life. You just can’t explain what it’s like being apart from family and friends, my sausage dogs and my home and home comforts like my bed and home cooked meals for so long. It impacts every moment of every day and night, as you constantly and desperately expect the transplant coordinator will come bearing news.”
“I spent Christmas 2016 here in hospital recovering from my Ventricular Assist Device surgery but last Christmas was my twin grandsons first Christmas and that was a blessing. Waiting for a transplant at Christmas is just like waiting any other day, a gift of life on Christmas Day, wouldn’t that be the greatest present?”
“I’m being positive and hoping that Christmas this year will be a repeat of 2016 and I will be recovering from my transplant surgery but it may well be yet another day waiting for the call.”
“A transplant would give me my life back again, I have so many plans for the future with my family and friends. At the moment it feels like my life is on ‘pause’.
“A transplant for Christmas would make this impossible year as an inpatient worthwhile and a perfect way to end a whole decade since I was diagnosed with familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I’ve spent the last decade in heart failure and I want to begin a new decade with a new heart and a new life.”
“I think all donors and their families are extremely kind and brave. Donors who choose to give their organs will never know what a life changing or lifesaving impact their decision has made to their recipient. The families of those donors, who ultimately make that final decision, during the most difficult of times, will hopefully find some comfort in the knowledge that their loved one lives on and has made a difference to someone’s life.
“My hope for 2020 is the start of my new life in a new decade. Free of heart failure and mechanical gadgets of which I have been most grateful. When I get my transplant, I will be thinking of my donor and their family first. I hope to find some way of showing them my gratitude for their bravery and thoughtfulness in agreeing to organ donation.”
To find out more look out for the new TV advert, which explains more about the law changing in England next year and launches over Christmas. There is more information at www.organdonation.nhs.uk, where you can also join the NHS Organ Donor Register, amend your details and more.