Membership councillor Janette Roberts understands very well the ordeal many families go through while waiting for donor organs to become available as her husband Richard died while waiting for a heart transplant.
It is one of the reasons she finds her work on the Trust’s organ donation committee so rewarding - and hopes that telling her story might make others think about joining the organ donation register.
“I am on the register and all my children are prepared to be donors. I think it’s such a positive thing to do,“ she said.
Janette, of Meltham, Huddersfield, is starting her fourth year as a Membership Councillor. She was a night sister before moving into a career in education and her life-long interest in health prompted her to join our foundation trust.
When it was mentioned in a meeting that a new organ donation committee was being formed at the Trust, she immediately expressed an interest.
“I was working with the Royal College of Anaesthetists looking at organ donation and was also interested because of my husband’s experience of waiting for a donor.
“Richard had a heart attack when he was only 37. He needed angioplasty but became seriously ill as they prepared him for theatre and they had to do a triple heart bypass. He recovered really well and for many years led a normal, active life.
“However in 1993 he needed a second bypass and did not recover from it. His health deteriorated and he was assessed for his suitability for a heart transplant.
“This included looking at his lifestyle. If you are going to receive a donor organ it is such a precious gift so it is very important that you will treasure it and look after it.”
After the assessment, Richard went into Wythenshawe Hospital and waited for a suitable donor but sadly his own heart gave up before that happened.
“In a strange way I still had a positive experience even though we weren’t lucky,” said Janette. “It was lovely to meet people who had been seriously ill and received new hearts and to see and hear how their lives had changed.
“So my message to people is – the choice is yours but just think about joining the organ donor register.”
To join the register www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23