A new award scheme to thank organ donors has been launched.
Created by global healthcare charity the Order of St John alongside NHS Blood and Transplant, the awards will be presented posthumously to the men and women whose deaths have saved lives and given hope.
33 relatives and loved ones of organ donors were chosen for showing a particular commitment to promoting organ donation, and invited to the launch of the awards with Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester earlier this month.
Among them was 46-year-old Odette Ward from Cwmbach in Rhondda Cynon Taf, whose husband Paul died after a fall and his organs were donated to help others.
Odette said, “The award won’t bring Paul back, but I hope it encourages others to talk about donation and raise awareness.”
Keith Dunn, Chief Executive of St John Cymru Wales, said, “The Order of St John is a global healthcare charity, which provides first aid, health care and community-based support in over 40 countries worldwide.
“This award has been created to say thank you to families whose loved ones have already donated and to inspire more people to follow in their footsteps.
“Around three people die every day due to the shortage of organs. Having the ability to save and improve people’s lives by donating your organs is a wonderful, selfless thing to do and we recognise the need to celebrate this.”
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said, “We hope receiving this new award will mean a great deal to those who have lost someone close to them but also give them renewed pride in their decision to agreed to donation. We are grateful to every single one of the 1,212 deceased donors which helped to increase the number of people benefitting from an organ transplant for the eighth year in succession.”
From 1 December 2015 the law on organ donation will change in Wales and The Human Transportation (Wales) Act 2013 will come into force. After this date consent for organ donation will be presumed unless otherwise stated.
An invitation to receive the Order of St John award will be sent on an annual basis to the loved ones of all UK organ donors. Donors’ loved ones who do not wish to attend a ceremony can choose to have it sent to them privately.