It's a strange notion isn't it, that in the midst of our greatest sadness we can bring hope to others however, this was very much the message of the March Members' Event, which was focussed on Organ and Tissue Donation.
Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, Pardeep Gill, shared some interesting statistics demonstrating that in a survey 90% said that they would be happy to sign up for organ donation but in reality only 29% do. The fact that we are more likely to need a transplant than to donate an organ was a very harsh reality to face. The issue is one of growing concern with an increasingly ageing population. The need for transplantation is growing and there is a Government task force whose ambitious target is to raise the number of those registered by 50%. The message that our support as a nation is needed to make this happen was very clear.
Every day time runs out for three people on the transplant list who will lose their battle for life due to the lack of suitable donors. In our area alone there are 33 people waiting for life saving surgeries. Despite this, the picture that was painted by Jessica Gregory, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, for our area was one of hope and of inspiration. One organ donor can help eight people to live, with tissue donation the number is much higher.
A former transplant patient spoke about his experience with great warmth, emotion, courage and candour. He talked about the immense gratitude he has for the donor's family in giving him the gift of life at what must have been the saddest time for them. He honours this every day by living a full and active life and alongside voluntary work he talks about his experience to groups of medics and nurses to facilitate their training and awareness and in the hope that more people will register with the organ donor register.
It was a great event that informed and enlightened but mostly inspired us to think again about organ donation by bringing it back into our immediate awareness. The event really underlined the Trust's values of; Patients First, Passion for Excellence, Pride in our Team and also brought into sharp relief the fact that we all have the opportunity to consider our personal responsibility in this area and whether we can make that final gift of life.
Written by Tracy Ward, Governor for Runnymede