Dozens of Derbyshire patients spent Christmas waiting for the gift of life
As the dust settles on the Christmas and New Year celebrations, dozens of people across Derbyshire are still waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.
A total of 89 patients in the county went into the festive season on the waiting list, joining more than 6,000 across the UK, including 185 children, desperate for the gift of life.
The figures have prompted an appeal to families to share their organ donation decision, so that their loved ones know what they want when they die, and more patients can receive the transplants they need.
One man who signed up to the organ donor register was Keith Buckley, who died in 2015 after falling off a ladder while putting up Christmas lights at his home.
The 74-year-old retired fire officer suffered a serious head-injury, but his kidneys went to two people awaiting transplants.
His daughter, Jane Stubbs, has had to endure her fifth Christmas without him but gains comfort from the fact that he saved lives by becoming an organ donor.
She said: “His death was absolutely devastating. You never imagine something like that can happen to your dad. You think they are invincible.
“But something positive had to come out of something so tragic, and it was what my dad wanted.
“He never talked about organ donation, but I wish he had. He had already signed up to the organ donor register, but I wonder if he ever thought it would apply to him.
“You just want to make sure you are doing what he wanted, and I would not have gone against his wishes.”
Jane spoke positively about the process of her father’s kidneys being donated.
She said: “There is nothing to fear by allowing your loved one to be a donor. Our experience was amazing.
“The hospital staff were so caring and compassionate. Nothing was too much trouble. They made the whole thing more bearable.
“I hope the people who received my dad's kidneys spare a thought for him and raise a glass or two in his memory.
“I hope they make the most of every day. It makes me feel proud knowing my dad helped them to live.”