Doctor appeals to people in Kent and Medway to give the gift of life this Organ Donation Week (Monday 18 to Sunday 24 September 2023)
Date: 18 September 2023
A retired GP is urging people to help give the gift of life to others by making sure they share their organ donation wishes with their family.
Dr Gill Fargher has been an advocate and champion for organ donation since the sudden and tragic death of her beloved husband Tristan in January 2015.
Gill, who is also Chair of Medway NHS Foundation Trust’s Organ and Tissue Donation Committee, said: “The subject of organ donation came up when I was told that Tris was going to die. We had talked about organ donation in the past and I knew what he would have wanted. It made the decision to donate his organs somewhat easier.
“My life was shattered but I know that because of Tris, four people’s lives were saved or transformed. We donated his corneas and kidneys.
“Sadly, many opportunities are lost every year in Kent and Medway and around the country because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not.”
To help raise awareness, a video of Gill speaking to the Trust’s Chair Jo Palmer, has been produced so people can find out more about Gill’s experiences of organ donation and why registering your decision is so important.
Jo said: “Even though the law around organ donation has now changed to an ‘opt out’ system across England, Scotland and Wales, organ donation will only go ahead with the support of the family. This means it is just as important as ever to add your name and decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register, because families are more likely to support the decision of someone who has registered.”
Thanks to the generosity of eight donors and their families, 17 patients were able to receive transplants facilitated by the Trust in 2022/2023.
One donor can save up to nine lives from organ donation, and even more by donating tissue. Every day someone in the UK dies waiting for a transplant, due to a shortage of people donating. At present, there are around 7,000 people waiting for a transplant. However, as only 1,400 people die in circumstances where organ donation is possible, every donation is precious and can make such a difference.
Throughout Organ Donation Week, three iconic buildings in Medway will turn pink, the colour of the country’s ‘Yes I Donate’ organ donation campaign, to encourage people to confirm their support for organ donation by adding their name and decision to the NHS Organ Donor Register. They are:
- Medway Maritime Hospital’s clock tower
- Rochester Castle, and
- Rochester Cathedral’s spire
Gill added: “It’s brilliant of the Trust, Rochester Cathedral and Medway Council which manages Rochester Castle and its events, to show its support for Organ Donation Week. The modern organ donor card is pink, and it certainly gets conversations going.
“We need people in Kent and Medway to add their name and decision to the NHS organ donor register as it really could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”
You can choose, at any time, whether you want to be an organ and tissue donor when you die. Talk about it with your family and friends so that they know your decision and you know theirs as families will always be involved before organ and tissue donation goes ahead and will be expected to support the decision their loved one makes.
It takes just two minutes to confirm your organ donation decision by visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk
You can also record or amend your organ donation decision in the following ways:
- On the NHS App in England
- By calling 0300 123 23 23.
Retired GP Dr Gill Fargher, who has been an advocate and champion for organ donation since the death of her husband Tristan in January 2015, is urging people to help give the gift of life to others by making sure they share their organ donation wishes with their family.