Five people who gave the ultimate gift of life through organ donation were honoured posthumously at an award ceremony in Lincoln on Thursday, October 16.
The Order of St John award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, has been presented to the families and loved ones of those who saved and improved people’s lives through organ donation.
The private award ceremony was held at The Cardinal’s Hat, the St John Ambulance’s training centre in Lincoln with the awards presented by Andrew Clark, Chair of the Lincolnshire County Priory Group of the Order of St John.
Hundreds of families are attending regional ceremonies across the UK between October and December to receive the award in memory of their loved ones whose deaths saved lives and gave hope.
Among those to receive an award was Betty Barker from Addlethorpe, Skegness who received the award on behalf of her son Anthony Murphy.
Andrew Clark, Chair of the local County Priory Group of the Order of St John, said: “We’re delighted to be able to work with NHS Blood and Transplant to run the Organ Donor Awards for a second year. Organ donation can clearly save lives and it is also vitally important to say thank you to the families whose loved ones have already donated their organs to assist others.
“With around three people dying every day due to the shortage of organs, these donors and their families have carried out an inspirational act to help others to live. We hope the example they have set will encourage many more to follow in their footsteps and agree to become an organ donor.”
Between April 2013 and March 2014 the largest there was the largest ever number of deceased organ donors as the families of 1,320 people in the UK agreed to donate their loved ones’ organs, leading to thousands of patients’ lives being saved or transformed.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We launched this award scheme last year and were overwhelmed by the pride and experiences shared by the hundreds of families who accepted the award on their loved one’s behalf. It never ceases to amaze me just how humble people are when you speak to them about having helped to save the lives of patients who were desperately ill. I have never spoken to a single person who has ever regretted their decision to donate.
“These families deserve this honour and recognition of their life-saving gifts. We hope their bravery will inspire others to talk about their own wishes with people close to them and record their intention to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”
Families of last year’s 1,320 organ donors have all been invited to receive the award, displaying the words ‘add life, give hope’, at a regional ceremony or have the award sent to them privately.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323 or text SAVE to 62323.