Mum of Kettering teenager who died suddenly joins organ donation appeal

The Lee family, with Nicola (top left) and Miriam (bottom right). NNL-180509-112808005
The Lee family, with Nicola (top left) and Miriam (bottom right). NNL-180509-112808005

A Kettering mum whose daughter’s organs were donated after her sudden death is supporting Organ Donation Week.

National figures show 80 per cent of people support donation – but only 33 per cent have told their family they want to donate.

Staff at KGH are backing national Organ Donation Week. NNL-180509-112757005

Staff at KGH are backing national Organ Donation Week. NNL-180509-112757005

Nicola Lee’s daughter Miriam died after an unexpected cardiac arrest in 2016 at the age of just 17.

But Nicola has pointed to how her and her husband David’s conversations with Miriam on the subject made it clear to her family what her wishes were.

She said: “Miriam, our much loved daughter, was a healthy, intelligent and friendly 17-year-old.

“We were devastated when she suffered an unexplained cardiac arrest.

“Miriam had a kind, caring and loving nature, which we have learnt so much more about since her death.  

“She was a strong believer in blood and organ donation and letting others know of her wishes.

“She made this very clear to us and we had no hesitation in offering her organs, bones and soft tissue for transplantation.”

About 3,000 lifesaving transplants were missed in the last year because families said no to donation of their relative’s organs.

But Miriam’s gifts helped to save or improve numerous people’s lives.

Nicola said: “Miriam’s attitude was that if you would be prepared to accept an organ, you should be prepared to donate.

“We are immensely proud that she had that conversation with us so we did not have a decision to make.

“It is comforting to know that numerous peoples’ lives have been saved or improved because of her gifts.

“Although the organ donor register seems such a simple idea knowing what Miriam wanted when the time came not only removed the added stress of making an important decision, but it has had profound resonance in our family and friends.”

During national Organ Donation Week, which runs until September 9, Kettering General Hospital has appealed to local people to talk more about their wishes in the event of their own unexpected death.

During the week KGH is holding an awareness stand in main reception to encourage people to think about the issue and act on it and make sure their wishes about organ donation are clear to their families.

Specialist nurse for organ donation at Kettering General Hospital, Angela Waterhouse, said: “Despite record levels of organ donation, family refusals are still the biggest barrier to organvdonation.

“In circumstances where a family does not know their loved one’s wishes, they are far more likely to refuse to give their consent to organ donation.

“That why we are emphasising the Organ Donation Week message - Words Save Lives!

“We want everyone to talk to family and friends about their thoughts and feelings about organ donation.

“Many people don’t realise that family support is needed for organ donation to go ahead.

“If you support organ donation and have not already signed up to the national register you can do this easily with a phone call to 0300 123 23 23 or by going online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

“The more people talk about organ donation with their families, the better.”