Why you should register as an organ donor

I will never forget the morning of Sunday the 7th of February. We received a phone call that would change our lives forever. Hearing the news that my dad had suffered a heart attack shook me to my core, but sadly that wasn’t the end of our nightmare. The next 11 days brought a roller coaster of emotions and sleepless nights. A stroke that resulted in significant damage and a second heart attack lead to my father losing his battle and passing away in the early hours of February 17th. I lost the light of my life at 23 years old.

After over a week of hoping my dad would pull through, we were given the news that my dad wasn’t going to make it. The doctors sat us down and explained to us what was going to happen, and then gave us news that brought a smile to my face for the first time since the heart attack. My dad had registered as an organ donor. We had the option to pull out, but we all agreed that this would be what he would want and wanted to respect his wishes. 

The organ donor specialist sat down with us and told us which organs could be used and explained what would happen in the most respectful way. He was able to make us understand what to expect and why my dad was making such a difference to someone else life. It is important to know that this is not a short process, so grieving families please expect a long wait to find out if your loved ones organs can be used. The hospital needs to call every hospital in the nation to find a match for their organs, and if they find a match that hospital needs to send out a team to you for collection. We made the decision at 10am on the 16th, the process to let my father pass away ended on the 17th at 4am. (it is also important to mention here that my dad was in a medically induced coma and on life support, every situation will be different)

During this time we were able to spend time with my dad and say our goodbyes. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I am so grateful I had the opportunity to do it. We got a call at 10pm on the 16th to let us know there was a match for my fathers kidneys and the team had been dispatched from Cardiff. At 4am on the 17th my father passed away peacefully, painlessly and with dignity. 

The following morning was a blur of emotions and tears. We were devastated and heartbroken. At 4pm on the same day of my fathers passing we received a phone call that brought light to the hardest day - my fathers kidneys had been successfully given to two people that desperately needed them. I have never been more proud of my father. Because of my him, two people where given a better quality of life, and possibly even saved their lives. We knew that somewhere two families where celebrating, and that brought peace to my heart. It will never take the pain away, but knowing my dad has made a difference to someones life, even in his passing, makes moving on just that little bit easier. I know that a little piece of my dad lives on, and it gives me a reason to smile even during the darkest day. My father is also able to give someone the gift of sight and his tissues can be used for various things such as skin grafts - something he had also needed at an earlier stage in his life. 

I'm hoping this post will help people understand the benefits of registering as an organ donor. If you choose to, you can really change someones life. If you’re going through a similar situation and are losing a loved one, please think about saying yes if the hospital asks for their organs to be donated. It can really help your grieving process. Whoever benefits from an organ donation will be forever grateful to you and your family. It is the most priceless, selfless gift you can give, and you could save someones life. 

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