Daughter of Notts man who donated kidneys urges families to give the gift of life this Christmas
Families in Nottinghamshire are being urged to sign up to become an organ donor over Christmas to help those urgently waiting for a life-saving transplant.
According to NHS Blood and Transplant, 106 people in the county are waiting for an organ transplant, along with over 6,000 people in the UK.
More than 180 children are also waiting for a life-saving gift of an organ.
Keith Buckley, aged 74, from Nottingham, died in December 2015 after falling off a ladder while putting Christmas lights up at his home.
The retired fire officer suffered a serious head injury, but his sad death helped save the lives of two people who received his kidneys.
His daughter, Jane Stubbs, is facing her fifth Christmas without him but is comforted by the fact that he saved lives by becoming an organ donor.
Jane, from Nottingham, 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.
“Both of his kidneys were used and two people received those.
“I hope they spare a thought for my Dad and for us and raise a glass or two to his memory.
“I hope they make the most of every day. 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.
“You try and focus on the positive happy memories, but it is hard. I miss him so much. We never got to say goodbye or tell him how much we loved him. As a family we will spend time together this Christmas. Life goes on. I love to talk about him and tell everyone how proud I am of him.
“Family at Christmas was very important to my Dad. He liked to have the family around him at that time of year.
“It was an opportunity for us all to come together, to have a laugh, and make some happy memories. He absolutely doted on his two grand-daughters. We love to talk about our family Christmas memories, particularly when I was a child and the things we used to do.
“I would urge everyone to have the conversation and to make sure they sign up to be an organ donor.
2If 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.”
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year, however away from the rush and bustle of preparing for the holiday it should also be a time for family and thinking of others.
“We are urging everyone in Nottinghamshire to take a moment to think about the people who will spend their Christmas hoping for just one thing; a life saving organ transplant. Would you like to help if you could? If you needed a transplant, would you want someone to donate to you?
“Please let your family know what your organ donation decision is so that we can save more lives. Every precious organ donor allows more families to spend special times together.
“A quick chat can save lives, and we know that even at a time of grief families take enormous comfort and pride from their loved one’s donation.”
From spring 2020, all adults in Nottinghamshire will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate, known as ‘opt out’, or are in one of groups not covered by the new organ donation law.