Ipswich: Save lives and change lives - sign the donor register

TWO transplant patients from Ipswich have today urged people to sign the organ donation register to help save lives.

The plea comes as it emerged three people in the UK die each day while waiting on the transplant list.

Ipswich Hospital’s clinical lead for organ donation, Dr Paul Carroll, backed the call to encourage more people to look into signing up.

He said it was important for families to talk about the subject of donation to avoid shock in the event of losing a loved one.

“Pass it on, is the message that needs to be remembered,” he said.

“Families need to be aware of how each other feel about donating so that, when it comes to the critical time where a family member loses their life, the decision does not create any extra emotional strain.”

Wendy Bowes finally had a kidney transplant last year, after 14-and-a-half years on dialysis.

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She said: “I am so grateful to them [the donor] for sparing a thought for others.”

The 59-year-old, from Kesgrave, said she had stayed in touch with the family of the donor – something she felt had been important for both her family and that of her donor.

“I have come a long, long way since the operation. It took a long time to heal, but I can do things now that I couldn’t before,” the mum-of-one added.

Fellow transplant patient Carla Menzies, a healthcare assistant at Ipswich Hospital, was on dialysis for 12 years after repeated infections left her in kidney failure.

The mum-of-two, of Lupin Road, had to visit the hospital’s renal unit three times a week for five hours at a time to have dialysis.

But on March 17, 2009, Ms Menzies’ life changed – she had a kidney transplant.

“My transplant meant the world to me,” she told the Star. “It has changed my life.

“I will always be on medication but I’m no longer reliant on being hooked up to a machine.

“It is so important for people to be aware of the benefit and change you could make to another person’s life as a donor. As a donor you can save lives and change lives.”

Linda Warne, specialist nurse for organ donation, added: “Most people don’t know that one person signing the organ donation register can save more than eight lives. I would encourage everyone to sign the donor register.”

At Ipswich Hospital, to mark National Transplant Week, a tree was planted in the multi-faith garden to recognise the gift of life given by patients over the years.

Last year at Ipswich, 13 patients received the gift of a new organ from a donor.

There are currently 69 people in Suffolk on the transplant waiting list.

Have you signed the register? What do you think?

Click the link above right to read the harrowing story of Kerry Thorpe, who is awaiting a transplant.