Notts woman whose dad died putting up Christmas lights urges people to discuss organ donations

A Nottinghamshire woman whose father’s organs saved the lives of two people is encouraging the public to sign onto the organ donation list. 

Jane Stubbs’ father Keith Buckley died in December 2015 after he fell from a ladder putting up his Christmas decorations – suffering a serious head injury in the process. 

Keith Buckley died in December 2015 putting up his Christmas decorations.

Keith Buckley died in December 2015 putting up his Christmas decorations.

The 74-year-old retired fire officer’s kidneys managed to save the lives of two people, and all because he signed up to be an organ donor before he died.  

Jane said her dad’s unexpected death was "devastating” but added that there is “nothing to fear” about becoming a donor.

She said: “It was unexpected and was absolutely devastating. I never imagined something like that would happen to my dad. You think they are invincible.  

“It was the last thing we thought we would have to be dealing with at that time of the year.  There is never an easy time to lose someone, but Christmas just seems even worse.

“Something positive had to come out of something so tragic and it was what my dad wanted. My dad had never talked about organ donation or dying  but I wish we had talked about it.  

“He had already signed up to the organ donor register, but I wonder if he ever thought it would apply to him?  

“You just want to make sure you are doing what he wanted, and I would not have gone against his wishes.

“There is nothing to fear by allowing your loved one to be a donor.  Our experience was amazing.  The hospital staff were so caring and compassionate.  Nothing was too much trouble.  They made the whole thing more bearable.” 

Laws around organ donations are changing from next year, meaning everyone will automatically become a donor and will have to ‘opt out’, rather than the old ‘opt in’ system. 

In Nottinghamshire, 106 people are facing Christmas on the waiting list for an organ transplant. They join more than 6,000 people across the UK, including more than 180 children, awaiting a life-saving gift.

Jane says everyone should “have the conversation” about donation and hopes the people with her dad’s organs “raise a glass or two” to his memory. 

She added: “It makes me feel proud knowing my Dad helped them to live. I don't want them to feel guilty though - I know some recipients do - just carry on living.  

“I would urge everyone to have the conversation and to make sure they sign up to be an organ donor.  If your loved one agrees to donate their organs make sure that you abide by their decision when they pass away.  

“It's not about your needs, it's about what they wanted to do. I fully support the new legislation - most people would expect or demand to receive an organ if they or a loved one needed one.

“You should therefore be prepared to donate.”

To find out more about organ donation or to sign up, visit the NHS website.