dyslexia a 2 z – swindon advertiser

WHEN Maria Chivers’ niece Kerry Wilcox died at the age of 23, her family made the difficult decision that her organs should be donated.

Since her death 12 years ago, Kerry’s organs have helped save the lives of at least four people, including a nine-month-old baby, a nine-year-old girl and two men in their 50s.

Now, her aunt and godmother Maria, 56, of Blunsdon, has launched a one-woman campaign to get 25,000 people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register in the 25 days until Christmas.
Maria said: “If I only get one person to sign up then that may help save someone else’s life, but I wanted to set myself a target.

“Around 90 per cent of the population say they support organ donation, yet only 30 per cent of people have actually signed up to the register. I think that if we push the boat out in Swindon alone, then we should be able to help.”

Kerry, an aspiring singer, had never spoken to her family about organ donation before her own life was cut short following a brain haemorrhage, but Maria believes it is exactly what she would have wanted.

“I have only recently felt able to talk about Kerry without getting upset,” she said.

“She was so lovely, she lived life to the full and was such a beautiful girl.
“She loved people and cared so much for people – she would give anybody her last penny. My sister Janet, Kerry’s mum, had never talked about organ donation with her children but she knew instinctively that Kerry would have wanted to help anybody.

“As a result of her gift, we now know her organs saved at least four people including a baby who received a heart valve transplant, a little nine-year-old girl received a liver transplant and is doing extremely well and two men in their 50s who had been on dialysis for many years are now living healthy lives.
“It helps to know she has helped others, it doesn’t really help at the time, but now it does.”

Maria is now urging others to talk about organ donation with their relatives or friends to save them the ordeal of having the conversation when somebody they know has passed away.

She said: “If I could make a plea to people it would be to ask you to talk to your relatives, maybe over dinner, when you’re watching TV, anywhere, just when you are relaxed and can talk quite casually about things.

“When you have to talk about it in these circumstances, it is absolutely awful – terrifying. Don’t wait until you are in this position, and don’t think it will never happen, I sincerely hope it doesn’t but you never know.

“I am trying to get 1,000 of you to sign up, for each of the 25 days, that’s 25,000 people – that’s not a lot to ask is it?”

Maria has set up a Facebook page One Moment of your Time which contains a link on donation. For more details visit www. organdonation.nhs.uk.
by Katie Bond
Swindon Advertiser
Monday 5th December 2011