Five years ago yesterday a stranger sadly passed away; the most important stranger I never had the honour to meet. The very next day they saved my sister’s (and best friend’s) life. Five years ago almost to the minute she was taken down to theatre for the operation that would make the previous eight months of twice weekly trips to Bristol for dialysis worth while. That would bring the colour back to her face, and fix renal problems she had had for the eleven years of her life. We had to wait nine months for our phone call (although it seemed like ten years), an emotional and draining journey that not only affected my sister, but countless people that cared for her so much.
To me signing up for the organ donation register is such a morally important thing to do, knowing personally how many people’s lives you can save, not only those who receive an organ but the family and friends closest to the person. And yet it still baffles me that there are still people so against it.
A girl I met while at University, that we’ll call ‘Polly’, was very opinionated stating that she wasn’t signed up because the people who needed a heart, kidney, lung, etc, had brought it on themselves because of smoking, drinking, not looking after their health, and why should she give her organs just so they can destroy them again. A few people may have caused the issues themselves, but does that mean they should be left to suffer?
Anybody that has watched a loved one go through a procedure such as dialysis or chemo will know how painful it is to witness. Should those loved ones be left to suffer?
Our story all in all went relatively smoothly (if you exclude the dialysis lead splitting on new years eve, being allergic to almost every type of wound dressing, and the fact that we lived four hours away from the nearest children’s hospital, but details, details) however I have met people whose journeys didn’t go as well. From people who had waited years, to the girl who had three false alarms (one of which times the man whose kidney she was meant to receive walked, yes WALKED, out of hospital two weeks later… awkward!)
After five years my amazing sister is fit and healthy (relatively speaking) and this might not have been so if that incredible stranger hadn’t registered. So please please please, it takes two minutes and changes hundreds of peoples lives.