When Wendy Kane, 51, sadly lost her son Jack, she already knew that he wanted to be an organ donor. Here, she shares how she supported her son’s life-giving decision.
“Jack died in a very tragic accident five days before his 22nd birthday. It was very sudden and a huge shock. He had fallen and hit his head and although the Air Ambulance did their absolute best to get him to hospital so he could be operated on, he didn’t survive. The surgeons did all that they could.
It was his decision to be an organ donor
“I don’t know how he’d made the decision to donate his organs, but I knew he wanted to because of a conversation we’d had two years earlier. He’d registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register and was sitting at the computer telling the rest of the family to do it too. I remember him saying, ‘Everyone needs to sign up, you don’t need them when you’re gone, give someone else the chance of life!’
“Even though Jack’s life sadly couldn’t be saved, he got to save the lives of four people and improve the lives of more by donating his organs and tissues. When I was in shock and grieving I didn’t have to make this choice for him because he’d been so sure and recorded it on the register. Losing your child is the worst pain imaginable – you can’t even think straight let alone make any big decisions, and you never in a million years think it will happen to you.
“From the moment that the consultant had told us the awful news that Jack wasn’t going to make it we met with the specialist nurse for organ donation who was amazing and stayed with us for 48 hours, guiding us through the process of Jack donating his organs. We then said our last goodbyes to Jack.
Jack saved four lives
“When we got home after leaving the hospital, the nurse was the first person to contact us again to tell us that in that time, Jack’s lungs had already been successfully transplanted into the donor recipient. At that moment, this delicate news was the best thing I could’ve heard. We later found out that his kidneys went to two separate people and his liver went to save the life of another recipient.
“In my moment of deepest sorrow, I got huge comfort and hope from Jack’s selfless gift. It helped me through a very dark and difficult time. I took up running to help deal with my grief and I’ve raised money for Air Ambulance. Now I’m a marathon fanatic and have just run my first 100 miles. I often run and talk to Jack in my mind, and I’ll see signs that show me he is there somewhere. That’s my time with my son.
“I’m so proud that people are alive today because Jack donated his organs. That is his legacy and I think about it every day.”
Whatever your organ donation decision, the best thing you can do is register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and then to talk to your friends and family – to give them the certainty they need to support it. Amazingly, 9 out of 10 families in the UK support organ donation going ahead when they know it’s what their loved one would have wanted.
In this video, families talk about how they had the conversation about organ donation – and why it’s so important to talk about your decision