The importance of organ donation in saving lives has been marked by the unveiling of a beautiful new sculpture in Yeovil Hospital’s entrance.

Remembering those who have given so much in death, and their families, a moving ceremony took place on Tuesday (3 September) during National Organ Donation Week (Monday 2 September – Sunday 8 September) and was attended by families of those that gifted their organs at Yeovil Hospital, thanking them for their precious contributions.  

Dr Joe Tyrell, Consultant Director for Organ Donation and Anaesthetist at the trust, unveiled the sculpture saying: “We would like this beautiful sculpture to commemorate those of our patients who, in death, have given the ultimate gift; life. But we also hope that it will act as a thoughtful reminder for those who may have thought about organ donation but perhaps have never got around to joining the register or talking to their loved ones about this.”

There are around 6,000 people on the organ donor waiting list and sadly around 400 people die each year without having received the transplant that could have saved their life. Around 80 per cent of people say they support organ donation and would accept a transplant themselves, yet less than 40 per cent have added their name to the register.

The placement of the sculpture in the main reception area at Yeovil Hospital will act as a dramatic reminder to get the community actively talking and discussing donating with their friends and family. This is poignant as Max and Keira’s law will be coming into effect from spring 2020, where it will be assumed all adults will be organ donors unless they chose to opt-out.  

Dr Joe Tyrell added: “Our wishes after death cannot be known to our loved ones if we have never had the conversation. The register is non-binding, so we as doctors can only ever grant your wish to be a life-saving donor if your loved-ones or next of kin also give their consent. So, talk to your mum, your dad, your sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, around the dinner table or down the pub, and be an everyday hero like the patients whose relatives have joined us today.”

Designing the sculpture was a six-month process and the result was a beautiful copper Sycamore seed statue, created by Karen and Tony van de Bospoort. The core represents the growing of new life and the wings resemble those of a helicopter blade, linking with Yeovil’s history with helicopters; dedicated to local donors who, through their own death, have given a lifetime.

Roger and Isabelle Coombes, who sadly lost their son, but gifted his organs, said: “Giving life is the biggest gift you could give to anyone. When you grieve for someone like we did, it is a flicker of light knowing they are still around. Seeing the sculpture brings back memories, happy ones. I am proud.”

Isabelle added: “We know the outcome was death, but the chance to give others life, was more than we could have asked for. We are pleased to have been a part of this, without people like us, people wouldn’t have the help.”

For Organ Donation Week 2019, we encourage families and friends to talk openly about their wishes after death. The register is non-binding, and the doctors can only adhere to the desires of your relatives at the time of death. Visit the Organ Donation website here to register – www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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