Saturday, 14 November 2009

An afternoon at Imperial College

Left-Right: Emily, Dr. Anthony Gordon and Pauline

This wednesday afternoon we were lucky enough to find ourselves at Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust Clinical Ethics Committee Open Day. LLTGL chair Emily and treasurer Mandy, together with the fantastic Pauline (from our friends the Donor Family network) were invited to present to the committee at a special session on the ethics of organ donation. These kinds of opportunities are really vital to us as a charity, for it is a chance for us to get our message across to the people at the top who can address some of the structural issues surrounding organ donation.

Following presentations from Dr. Anthony Gordon, the Trust's Organ Donor Champion, transplant surgeon Mr. Vassiolos Papalois and the Trust's living donor co-ordinators, it was our turn to work some LLTGL magic with personal stories surrounding transplantation and organ donation.

Mandy started off by showing the LLTGL slide show, which tells of the most powerful aspect of organ donation: those lives that have been transformed by organ donation, those lost and the fear of those still waiting. Pauline then gave a very touching presentation about the donor family perspective. Although she made the point that Donor Families don’t want to be treated as heroes, Emily made the point for, I feel sure, all of those of us who have been lucky enough to have received an organ, that to her (and us) they are heroes because they really have changed our lives.

Emily then gave a wonderful presentation about the reality of life on the transplant waiting list, and the contrast with her life now and, as is her usual style, there was scarcely a dry eye in the house!

Most importantly the feedback from both the clinical staff present and ‘lay’ people reminded us just how powerful it is to hear firsthand experiences of organ donation. Thanks to all of our supporters who share with us their stories, for every single one helps us reinforce why organ donation matters so much.


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