The number of children receiving life-saving heart transplants has more than doubled since the Mirror’s organ donation campaign.
Increased nationwide awareness triggered by the Change the Law for Life drive has seen a rise in donations despite the virus pandemic.
The surge came despite a partial NHS shutdown during lockdown, with most taking place even before the law change to presume consent had come in to effect.
Until this year the consent rate had flatlined at 67% in 2018/19 and 68% in 2019/20.
At the height of the pandemic in March this year it reached 75%.
John Forsythe, medical director at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s amazing what the NHS has managed.
“While it’s likely to be a combination of things, this could certainly be down to publicity and increased awareness. We’re very grateful to the Mirror for its continued interest in those on our waiting list and the change in legislation.”
Max and Keira’s Law, the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, came in to effect on May 20 after years of campaigning by the Mirror.
It means consent will be presumed unless someone has opted out. But, crucially, bereaved families still have the right to say no.
The mother of transplant patient Max Johnson, 11, said she was “in awe of the NHS” for carrying on as usual.
Emma Johnson, 50, of Winsford, Cheshire added: “We always hoped that the increased publicity around the law change would help to increase the consent rate and this is now gradually starting to show.
“We also feel humbled by those families that have been able to agree to organ donation, despite all the other pressures and worries that Covid-19 has brought, on top of their personal loss.
“Higher consent rates could bring increased hope to those waiting for an organ and those decisions to donate mean that children like Max have a second chance.
“Max is enjoying high school and thriving… all because of Joe Ball’s decision to allow Keira’s organs to be donated.”
Improved technology to preserve hearts after death contributed to heart transplants increasing to 97 in the six months to August.
This was up from 87 during the same period last year.
Among children’s hearts – the most difficult to preserve and transplant – there was an increase to 22 from just eight in the previous six months.
Freya Heddington, 13, from Bristol, had a heart transplant during the pandemic.
Her diagnosis was a sudden shock after she began to suffer with shortness of breath.
Doctors told her she had restricted cardiomyopathy and she was placed on a waiting list.
She said: “I started getting breathless and fainting.
“It was getting worse and worse and I felt weak. The doctors said it was my heart and I couldn’t really take it in and understand it. When they said I needed a transplant I was worried about the operation.”
During the Covid-19 crisis, she received her call.
Ten days later Freya was home. She has recovered well and recently returned to school.
She added: “I am so thankful to my donor. People need to donate their organs; other people need them to live.”
Dad Jason said: “Families often don’t know what relatives wanted regarding their organs.”
Two-year-old Grayson Heagren had a Berlin heart – an air-driven pump – keeping him alive but his family knew this would only work for so long.
They were losing hope but this summer came the call they had been waiting for.
Mum Shannon, 26, from Peterborough, said: “I was starting to feel his transplant was never going to happen.
“When I got the call it was just overwhelming, I couldn’t take it in and I knew someone else had just lost their child – it was emotional.
“Everything went fine with the transplant and Grayson is doing so well. He has so much energy now, he does not stop!
“I can’t thank Grayson’s donor family enough. They have saved Grayson’s life.”
She added: “When you pass away your organs are going to be buried or cremated, don’t waste them if you can give someone a chance at life and gain something positive.”
- Brave heart transplant hero Max Johnson to get special award from Theresa May
- Baby boy with heart failure faces a race against time for a life-saving transplant - just months after his father had one
- 'Dead' heart brought back to life in pioneering transplant surgery
- World's oldest transplant patient told new heart would last decade - 35 years ago
- My baby boy needs a new heart… without it, he won’t live to see his 2nd birthday
- Newest Staff Member at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital Has Wet Nose, Four Legs and a Tail
- The two words that helped heal a mother’s heart... thank you: After Will was killed on his bike, his organs helped save 12 people - Now, his mum tells how moving letters from the grateful families lifted her grief
- Former NHL Enforcer Lyle Odelein Faced Fight Of His Life Here In Pittsburgh
- Dad who died suddenly after ‘extreme headache’ saves FIVE lives after donating his organs
- West Haven Dunkin' Donuts Customers Help Save a Heart
- 'I held his hand and told him to hold on…' Mother's desperate battle to save the life of schoolboy Harley Watson after finding the 12-year-old dying in the road after 'deliberate hit and run' outside his school
- Mirror Christmas foodbank appeal raises more than £35,000 for hard-pressed families
Children's life-saving heart transplants double thanks to Mirror campaign have 902 words, post on www.mirror.co.uk at September 28, 2020. This is cached page on VietNam Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.