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Donating your organs as part of your legacy

By Nina Steele 

I wrote an article entitled: ‘The legacy issue when you are a non-parent’, a couple of days ago, in which I talk about the many aspects of leaving a legacy, emphasising the fact that legacy is more than procreation alone. Further to the article, Craig Van Ness, a Facebook user, posted the following comment: “We bring nothing into this life, I am taking nothing out…. I don’t want a funeral of any kind and I’ve left my remains to medical research”. I was so inspired by his words that it spurred me on to join the Organ Donor Register.

Donating my organs, has been in the back of my mind for some time. It is one of those decisions that are easy to act on, yet I wasn’t ready to commit. You would think that such a decision would be straightforward, since my organs will be of no use to me when I die!

I can only think of one reason why I have been dragging my feet all this time and it is that, when you have never had to deal with the agony of seeing a loved one go through years of waiting for a transplant, you become totally oblivious to that side of life. It becomes something that happens to other people. Just like the countless tragic stories we watch on the news.

As it currently stands, almost 7000 people are waiting for a transplant in the UK.

In her book ‘A Widow’s Awakening’, Maryanne Pope, talks about the reality of organ donation when the donor dies young. Her husband John, a police officer, died in the line of duty, aged 32, and although he was declared brain dead within hours of his accident, he was kept on life support so his organs could be removed. Reading her book did help me understand the whole process better.

To say that organ donation is the ultimate act of kindness, would be an understatement. Yet understandably, for some people, it is an act of kindness too far.

There are cultural issues as well, that make some people reluctant to become donors. For example some cultures believe that as there is an afterlife, a dead person’s organs cannot be removed. This BBC article explains this very issue.

Thankfully, there are still many people who believe in the ultimate gift of life. There are currently about 21 million registered donors in the UK, and I am glad to have become one of them, at last.

Comments

  1. Donating any part of one’s body is one of the ultimate acts of selflessness in my opinion. What a precious gift to give to another.

    • Hello Pascale,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised to read that there are currently 21 million people on the organ donor register. Because we often complain about people in society becoming increasingly selfish, I didn’t expect such a high number. I suppose, it is often the case that people will step up to the plate when it really matters.

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