Sister’s appeal for organ donors

Duncan Sharp
Duncan Sharp

THE SISTER of a man who saved two lives by donating organs after his death, has made a heartfelt appeal for more people to register as donors.

Stella Douglas, 51, of Parkwood Road, The Ridge, was devastated by the sudden death of her brother Duncan Sharp last year.

Stella’s appeal comes in the week the Nuffield Trust released a report stating a pilot scheme offering a funeral fund for donors could boost numbers.

Duncan was encouraged to join the Organ Donor Register by his life-long friend Dick Pearse.

Dick, 67, has been on dialysis treatment three times a week for the last three years.

And when he was first diagnosed Mr Sharp immediately offered him one of kidneys.

Duncan was just 48 when he collapsed and died at a friend’s house in August last year.

He had taken a lethal combination of cannabis, alcohol and heroin.

Paramedics rushed him to the Conquest Hospital where he was put in intensive care for three days.

But Stella had to make the decision to turn off the life support machine as he was clinically brain dead.

“We had talked about it in the past though it was a few hours after his death I discovered he was on the national register,” said Mrs Douglas.

“As Duncan’s next-of-kin I met with a senior nurse and the organ donation organiser.

“They tell you about every organ that it is possible to donate and you decide which you will give. They even tell you about skin which apparently we are very short of nationally since the London bombings.

“There was never any pressure on me from the staff.”

Within hours Duncan’s kidneys had been transplanted to a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s.

More than 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant. Of these, 1,000 each year – or three a day - will die waiting according to the NHS Blood and Transplant organisation.

Just 29 per cent of the adult population has joined the Organ Donor Register.

“Personally I have never wanted my organs to be donated,” added Stella. “But this wasn’t about me.

“I don’t think the Government should offer funeral funds. People should either want to do it or not.

“This was my brother’s last wish and helping improve someone else’s life helped me come to terms with his death.” For more information on joining the register call 0300 123 2323.