Saturday, 29 May 2010

LLTGL gets Ploinked...

Ploink! is a great new website that offeres you the chance to donate small amounts of change to the favourite charities of your choice.

It means you don't have to climb a mountain or run 1000 miles to be able to contribute to your favourite charity (ahem, LLTGL) but you can add as much or as little as you like! It's just like having a collection tin outside a's as simple as that!

Register (it's really easy) at their site, and search for Live Life Then Give Life under the charities page and then just start collecting!

Money raised from ploink! will go towards our Robyns Rainbows initiative, which aims to bring a little rainbow, a beacon of hope, (in the form of a balloon) to people in the transplant community. It also reminds recipients that they are being thought of, and that they are not alone. Just read how greatful Richard was when he received his recently here.

If you know someone that you'd like to nominate for a Robyn's Rainbow, or to find out more about the project, please visit


Monday, 24 May 2010

Amazing adventure day up for grabs!

Not up to much this weekend? Fancy a day of fabulous adventures and fun including canoeying, gorge scrambling and jumping down a waterfall!? You could be doing all this in the beautiful Lake District this Sunday!

Pop over to ebay now to bid on this amazing adventure experience. This is a 24 hour bid only so hurry on over!

Can't make it but think it sounds rather awesome? Why not share the link with your online friends?

Don't forget you too can raise money for LLTGL via ebay; click here to find out how.


Friday, 21 May 2010

LLTGL's stance on presumed consent.

Here at LLTGL, the question often arises as to why we are not actively pushing for an opt-out system for organ donation. This is a brief explanation of opt-out and where we stand on the issue.

What is opt-out?
An opt-out, or presumed consent system, presumes that everyone wants to donate their organs unless they have stated otherwise. As it stands at the moment, it is presumed that you do not wish to donate your organs unless you state otherwise (i.e., sign up to the Organ Donor Register). If you have not signed the Organ Donor Register your next of kin would need to be consulted as to what your wishes may have been, should you ever be in a position to be an Organ Donor. Various transplant-related groups are pushing quite strongly for the UK to change its system to one of presumed consent.

What is LLTGL's stance on it?
LLTGL are not currently campaigning to change the UK system to one of presumed consent. This is for a variety of reasons.

At first glance, there is reason to assume that changing to an opt-out system would solve the organ shortage in the UK - though on closer inspection it is much more complex than this. The current Transplantation system in the UK is undergoing a huge overhaul, triggered by the release of the Organ Donor Taskforce report in January 2008. The report identified 14 key points within the system which need attention and reform, and started working on these immediately. One of the key points identified is infrastructure; we do not have the capacity to deal adequately with increased levels of organ donation. It is vital that this key point is one of the first to be rectified, and steps are already underway to improve things. You can read the full report here.

A major concern for us are the myths and misconceptions which surround Organ Donation. Until people are better educated we do not believe that radical changes to the law would be effective as people would still be making decisions based on erroneous information.

One of the leading countries in the world as regards Organ Donation rates (relative to population) is Spain. Spain does have an opt-out system, however Dr Rafael Matesanz, President of the Spanish National Transplant Organisation, states that the legislative shift to presumed consent is not what improved their donor rates:

"During the early 1990s we had a 30% refusal rate, at the moment it's about 15%," Dr Matesanz says. "Many countries try to increase organ donation through legislation. But a change to presumed consent doesn't improve the donation rate". (Read the full article here.)

If the UK changed to an opt-out system, it would be called a "soft" system, where despite the premise being that it is assumed the person wanted to donate their organs, the family would be asked whether they would like donation to go ahead. The family refusal rate in this country is currently 40%, and it could be the case that this would rise since the loved one would not have made an active move to join the Organ Donor Register, leaving the family less certain of their wishes.

For all the above reasons, we feel it is important to focus on improving the current system through attention to infrastructure, education, funding and staffing, before considering any radical changes in UK legislation.

Monday, 17 May 2010

*New T-Shirts*

OK all you fab LLTGL supporters, we need your help!

When LLTGL was first launched back in 2006, it was essentially a T-shirt campaign. That was four years ago and the time has come to redesign our T-shirts!

We are down to two designs and this is where you come in; we need you to vote for your’e favourite one and give us any comments and feedback you can think of. Our supporters are always asking what they can do to help and so this is the perfect opportunity to make a difference and get involved.

Here are the 2 designs, leave comments on the blog to say if you prefer design one or design two or head over to our Facebook page and "like" your favourite design there.

This also means that the stock we have left of our current T-shirts is now effectively limited edition, so if you want to buy one, email before it's too late!

We look forward to hearing your feedback and, as always, are extremely grateful for your ongoing support.

The LLTGL Team x

Saturday, 15 May 2010

"With a happy balloon bobbling up and down at the end of my bed you can't help but smile and keep fighting"

We're pretty sure you know about our Robyn's Rainbows scheme, but just in case you don't, here's a reminder of what it is and why we do it. This is written by Rich, who is waiting for a double lung transplant and currently having a very rough time in hospital. We sent him his RR last week and received this lovely email in response.

"I woke from my early afternoon nap to find that a rather large parcel had been left a the end of my hospital bed. After realising that for once it wasn't a box of medication from Pharmacy I got rather excited. With the help of a passing physio we carefully untied the shiney yellow ribbon that surrounded the box and then peeled off the lid. I was slightly confused by the size/weight ratio of the parcel at his point as although big enough to conseal a large Christmas cake, it weighed no more than a bag of prawn crackers from a Chinese takeaway..

Finally we got the lid off, and like a jack in the box, a huge yellow smile bobbled into the room on a balloon. A smile that quickly spread to my face as I realised what had happened and who was responsible.

I was already very much aware of he work that LLTGL do for the transplant community and had read stories of others, like myself that had received a Robyn's Rainbow in the past... and can confirm that the reaction that I felt was exactly what they try to achieve with such a gesture.

The wait for Transplant isn't easy, but to know that people are thinking of you and cheering you all the way means so much. And with a happy balloon bobbling up and down at the end of my bed you can't help but smile and keep fighting.

Thank you and awooga!!"

It's thanks to your ongoing support and fundraising efforts that we are able to keep people smiling and help them keep fighting.

We're keeping our fingers tightly crossed that Rich gets his much-needed call as soon as possible. Do you know someone pre or post transplant that is having a difficult time and could do with a smile? Email info [at] to nominate them for a Robyn's Rainbow! To find out more about the scheme and the story behind it, click here.


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Gift of Life Memorial

Our friends at The Donor Family Network are holding a £250,000 fund raising appeal to create the Gift of Life Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire along with other regional memorials across the country.

The new National Organ Donor Memorial pays tribute to those donors and their families who made the gift of life possible.

The Donor Family Network strongly believes that a memorial to organ donors should be funded by the people - those whose lives organ and tissue donation has touched and those who support transplantation in recognition of the kindness and generosity of organ donors and their families.

The Memorial features a butterfly - the symbol of hope and new life and the forget-me-not as no donor will ever be forgotten. The design is surrounded by symbolic benches and provides a focus for donor recognition.

To find out more about the memorial, the appeal and how to donate visit:

Friday, 7 May 2010

Advocate Number 7

Last but by no means least advocate number 7!

Carol Beckett is a 39-year-old mother from Manchester. She was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer in September 2007 and received part of her brother's liver in a Living Donor Liver Transplant in January 2008.

At risk to his own life, Stephen saved Carol’s life in a ten hour operation and to express her thanks for this wonderful gift, Carol is now an Advocate for Live Life then Give Life, helping promote the importance of organ donation. Carol has worked in the NHS since 1991, and after a career break, has recently gone back to work part time in the NHS as a Senior Information Analyst.

Carol still finds time to fulfill her role as an advocate in many ways such as appearing in the Good Housekeeping magazine to tell her story, setting up stalls to invite members of the public to join the organ donor register and also giving presentations in schools to spread the word.

A couple of weeks ago Carol’s sister Sue also ran the London Marathon raising a massive £2,461.45 for us so far! (

Thank you Carol, your ongoing work and support is much appreciated.

There is a chronic shortage of organ donors in the U.K. and consequently 3 people die every day whose lives could have been saved by a transplant. Carol and indeed all the team at LLTGL want to raise awareness of this plight and want people to talk about it, think about it and do something about it.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Tremendous Trustees

Holly here, I am now on the Live Life Then Give Life blogging team so you will have the pleasure of my company here every so often – Ok so we’ve talked about our Amazing Advocates and now I’m going to re-introduce our Tremendous Trustees (they won’t blow their own trumpets so I am going to do it for them!)

First off Pops Barham – now where do we start with Pops!

Pops is a Student Paediatric Nurse, studying in the frozen North that is Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Her links with Organ Donation began when her younger brother Gareth received a new heart at Christmas 2004, after a six-month wait. Since this live changing event for Gareth, Pops has been a fierce promoter of Organ Donation, coming up with numerous (and often bizarre) methods of persuading people — especially students — to sign the Organ Donor Register.

In 2005, she started at University College in the University of Durham, studying English and Theology with Arabic (it seemed like a very good idea at the time!).

In Pops’ second year at Durham, she worked with the Chancellor Bill Bryson in starting his Organ Donation campaign, called 'My Friend Oli'. Bill had started the campaign after meeting Oli Lewington, who Pops finally met after his successful transplant. Targeting the student population, the campaign had great success in Durham, and will hopefully spread to universities across the country soon. For more information, check out This is where Pop’s heart lies, promoting organ donation amongst students through her role as student outreach for LLTGL. (Keep watching this space)

Now Pops has had some strange, bizarre and downright wacky ideas but this just takes the biscuit... Pops is going to run the Manchester Bupa 10k on Sunday for us along with her brother Harry and members of Team Ethan, this would be fine but she herself admits she can’t run and only started training a couple of weeks ago!

Pops acquaints herself with her trainers

She is making progress and all jokes aside Pops is fab and even if she has to crawl across the finish line we at Live Life Then Give Life know that she will complete it as she is so passionate about raising awareness of Organ Donation and raising money for us to continue our work! To keep up to date with her training schedule and how she is getting on click here and to sponsor her visit her Just Giving page here.

Had it not been for the gift of Organ Donation, Pops would be without her brother and this is exactly why she wanted to become a trustee, to keep spreading the word. Well done Pops for your fab work! x

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Independent Woman

Our loyal supporter Holly Cocker featured in the Independent newspaper today. The article discussed her transplant journey, where her best friend Oli donated a kidney to her after she had spent 5 years on dialysis. The headline of the article says it all ‘He simply said, have my kidney. He was my best friend – now he’s my hero’

Other people were also interviewed for the article, each of the people in the article have been part of Holly Cocker’s “Give and Let Live” photography project which promotes the benefit of living kidney donation. When discussing the project Holly said “When I travelled round to meet up with everyone and take their photo there was never a moment of awkwardness. The fact that we had been through the same thing somehow made it seem as if we were old friends. It is hard to put into words, but I instantly felt and understood the connection between the people in every couple I met. The attachment Oli and I have is incredible, amazing. It is like nothing else. He saved me.”

To read the full article click here and to read more about Holly’s project click here.

The article even mentions us at the bottom! Way to go Holly from all at Live Life Then Give Life x