‘It was the easiest thing in the world to say because I knew it was what he wanted’ – Letchworth and Whitwell family members collect awards honouring organ donors after relatives’ deaths
- Credit: Archant
Heroes from Hertfordshire who have saved lives through organ donation have been posthumously honoured at an awards ceremony.
The Order of St John Award for Organ Donation – run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant – was given to the loved ones of nine people by HM Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, The Countess of Verulam.
Lesley Ford, from Letchworth, received the award on behalf of her son, Daniel Ward.
Daniel, a father-of-four, had fibromyalgia and suffered two strokes before he died in April last year. He was just 39.
Lesley said: “There was nothing they could do for him. I just said ‘he’s an organ donor, so do what you need to do’.
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“It was the easiest thing in the world to say because I knew it was what he wanted.”
Daniel donated both of his kidneys, with one transplant proving successful and saving the life of a man in his 40s.
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Lesley said: “The last I heard was that he’s now back at work. I’m so proud that a family doesn’t have to go through what we went through, and that’s because of my son.
“Being given this award has made me so very proud of him.”
Sally Sloane, from Whitwell, received the award on behalf of her father-in-law, Robert Sloane, who died from pneumonia at the age of 65.
She said: “He was an organ donor, but it was tough for his son to accept. However, it was Bob’s wish and they found a match for his kidneys and both transplants were successful.
“Organ donation is something our family advocates now and we have all signed up to the register.”
There are currently 112 people in Hertfordshire on the transplant waiting list, with 53 people in the county having had a potentially life-changing transplant over the last year.
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Transplant patients tell us organ donors and their families are heroes.
“This award is a chance for us all to recognise their bravery and generosity.
“We hope these awards will inspire other people in Hertfordshire to tell their families they want to be an organ donor and then register.”
There is no age limit and there is a particular need for people of black or Asian origin to join the register.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.