This week we’re marking Organ Donation Week, shining a light on the importance of registering your donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing it with loved ones so that they can support your wishes at a difficult time.
When Claudia, aged 23, died suddenly at the Royal Sussex County Hospital following an accident earlier this year, her family asked about the possibility of organ donation. Having previously discussed it with Claudia, they knew it was something she believed in.
Claudia’s mum, Nichola, shares her story:
“Although Claudia was still being ventilated and her heart was still beating we understood that she wasn’t able to live, but we knew that somebody else could.
“We were fortunate to have time to be able to come to terms with the fact that her brain injury was so significant there was no chance of her recovering.
“We were able to be with her and hold her – that really meant the world to us.”
Claudia’s heart and kidney were donated to two adult recipients, while her liver helped to save the life of a child.
“We went down to theatre with her and when we said goodbye, I knew that somewhere in the country someone would be taking their loved ones to theatre and they would get to keep them.
“She has done such a remarkable thing, she lost her life but she gave somebody else theirs. That is so comforting to us as a family and has helped in the bereavement recovery. We are all so proud.
“Knowing that her heart is still beating now, that she has saved lives and to be able to have that legacy, it’s just wonderful.”
Nichola said her daughter would be remembered for her energy, kindness and sense of humour.
“Claudia was so funny, the joker of the family and the life and soul of the party. She just really loved people and was so generous.
“She was only young but really did listen and speak to people and liked to meet people. She didn’t have any prejudice against anybody. She had such a giving heart.”
Every day across the UK, someone dies waiting for an organ transplant. In May the law around organ donation in England moved to an opt-out system to allow more people to save and improve lives. You still have a choice – find out more here and follow #organdonationweek on social.