West Midlands organ donors honoured for saving lives

People from the West Midlands who saved lives through the gift of organ donation have been posthumously honoured at a moving award ceremony.

They received the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, which was given to their families and loved ones on their behalf.

Hundreds of families are receiving the award at regional ceremonies held across the UK this year. The awards recognise the 1,619 people who donated their organs after death in 2018, leading to thousands of patients' lives being saved or transformed. 

People recognised at the ceremony included Leslie Renwick from Wombourne. The award was accepted on his behalf by his wife Valerie, who said:

“Organ donation was only something Leslie and I had discussed in passing. He had not joined the register but agreed with it in principle and had said to me that he would be happy to donate anything that could help after his death. I remember him saying he would not need it anymore.

“When Leslie died however it was very sudden and even though I knew Leslie agreed with organ donation I still needed time to come to the right decision. I took some time alone with Leslie and reflected back on our conversations.

"The organ donation staff were very compassionate and gave me time. Leslie was a wonderful man, so loving and kind and for these reasons I felt that organ donation was right for him.” 

Through his donation Leslie was able to help three people. He donated both of his kidneys and his liver. Valerie has received letters from all three recipients. She added:

“It was so comforting to hear from Leslie’s recipients. It has helped me realise what an amazing gift organ donation is. The recipients told me how much their lives have changed thanks to Leslie and how they can now enjoy spending time with their families. I am so proud of Leslie.”

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, added:

“The pride families feel at these ceremonies is clear to see. Transplant patients tell us that organ donors and their families are heroes. This award is a chance for us all to recognise their bravery and generosity, and their amazing contribution to society.

“More and more people are supporting organ donation but there is still an urgent shortage of donors. We hope these awards will inspire other people in the West Midlands to tell their families they want to save lives.

"Telling your family that you want to be an organ donor makes things easier at a difficult time. Families tell us donation is a source of comfort and great pride that helps families in their grieving process and we don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to donate."

You can join the millions of people that have told their family they want to be an organ donor at organdonation.nhs.uk, or by calling 0300 123 23 23.


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