Organ donation: a lifesaving decision

Did you know that three people die every day because they’re waiting for a transplant? Or that 40% of families say no to organ donation even if their deceased loved one has previously agreed?

Swimmers in the British Transplant gamesThe facts about organ donation and transplants are fairly harsh. And I know only too well the life-or-death difference that a transplant can make.

My husband Mark had a kidney transplant 21 years ago, and 10 years ago his brother had one too, as they have a hereditary condition called Alport’s Syndrome.

Without a transplant, they could have both suffered from chronic kidney disease and ultimately complete renal failure.

Because of my family’s background, when a job with the organisation Transplant Sport came up I jumped at the chance, and now work as an administrator for them. We organise sporting events across the year, especially for people who have received a transplant, or ‘living’ donors – those who have donated an organ while they are still alive.

The British Transplant Games

ITV video coverage of the Transport Games

The Transplant Games in Bolton, 7-10 August 2014

One of our biggest events is the British Transplant Games, where people from all over the country come together to celebrate their new lives, take part in sporting events and raise awareness of the power of organ donation.

Mark is so fit and well now that he takes part in the games, competing on behalf of Nottingham.

We have a brilliant support network, and many families of those deceased who have donated organs often attend – it’s a great way for them to see how much difference their loved one has made to another person’s life.

Going global

Competitors in the Transplant SportsWe’re also looking forward to the World Transplant Games in 2015, which is being held in Argentina. This is a really inspirational event which helps to take the message out there on a worldwide level.

One of our participants, Andrew Evans, said: “I heard that wherever the World Games had been held there was a 30% increase in people willing to donate. It makes me feel that just by being there, I might make a difference to someone’s life.”

And this is ultimately what it comes down to. For me, it’s a no brainer and I’d donate anything. I’ve seen the benefits donation can bring to people, either the gift of life or the chance for a very different way of life.

How to donate

Logo for organ donationYou can register your wishes on the database but even more importantly you need to have the conversation with your family.

The hospital still have to ask them and abide by their decision, even if you’re on the database, so it’s important they understand your wishes. Of course it’s not an easy conversation to have, but it can be very difficult for your family to make the decision if they don’t have all the facts.

You make a will to say how you want your financial assets to be dealt with after your death, so to me it makes perfect sense to make your wishes known if you want to donate your organs.

Mark and I have two young children and he has a happy, healthy life. We owe such a lot to his donor…

Image of woman saying she's shared her decision to be an organ donor

Find out more

Jo Brown

About Jo Brown

I wear two hats. I run a charity office which is close to my heart – promoting the organ donor register. My husband received a kidney transplant over 21 years ago, and without it our family life would not be the way it is. As a lover of fashion and style, I am also an independent stylist for Stella and Dot. The ethos of Stella and Dot is empowering women to have their own business, and use the business to help them achieve their goals in life. The range is all designed in New York and San Francisco, and absolutely loved by glossy fashion magazine editors and celebs alike. It can be worn by every age – and there's something for every shape. I’m lucky that I love both my roles, and am happy to chat with either of my hats on, as I am passionate about both! Contact me at [email protected] or visit my Stella and Dot webpage.