Organ Donation Week 2023: “My son has got his mum back”

Heather Dawson with her husband Nathan

Heather Dawson with her husband Nathan

Danielle Crossfield

Danielle Crossfield

It’s Organ Donation Week 2023 - and the message this year is “Leave Them Certain”.

Currently 93 people in Halifax and Huddersfield are on the waiting list for a transplant.

Heather Dawson, 37, a former care worker from Huddersfield, says her life was “transformed” after receiving a kidney transplant.

She adds: “I felt like a burden always asking my husband and my son to do things for me when I used to be so independent.

“But now it’s like I’ve found freedom. My life is transformed, my husband has been such a support through it all and my son has got his Mum back. And that means so much to us all.”

Danielle Crossfield, 51, from Sowerby Bridge, currently has kidney dialysis three times a week to help keep her alive. Today she urges more people to sign up as organ donors and make sure their families know their wishes.

She currently spends 18 hours a week attending dialysis, including travelling to and from Calderdale Royal Hospital, and hopes one day to receive a transplant after joining the waiting list in January this year.

She says if she received a transplant, “my life would be given back to me.” And she adds: “I would see it as someone having sacrificed something of theirs to help me, and I would try and make the best of my days and remember the donor in my own little way each day.”

“It’s just waiting for the call. You don’t know how close to the top of the transplant list you are, it’s just a waiting game.”

Jayne Greenhalgh, Specialist Organ Donation Nurse at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I work closely with the Intensive Care Team and am in the privileged position of speaking to many families about organ donation. This conversation can come at a really difficult time. Families are facing the prospect of bereavement and can be very tired and upset, so for them to know what their loved one would want regarding donating organs and tissues, helps them to support this decision, clear in the knowledge they are following the wishes of their loved one. 

It’s never easy to talk about what you want to happen when you die, but by registering your organ donation decision, you are helping your loved ones by knowing what your wishes are.”

Helen Hirst, Chair of Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Trust’s Organ Donation Committee, said: “None of us would want to be in the shoes of loved ones facing this situation, but doing so with the clear knowledge that your loved one wanted to donate makes the decision a little bit easier.”

Further information and advice is available on the Organ Donation website and you can also register your decision online. Alternatively, call the 24-hour organ donation line on 0300 123 23 23.