A GRIEVING widower has spoken of his pride after his wife’s wish to be an organ donor allowed three lives to be saved.
Alan Friel, from Winstanley, is now encouraging others to sign the donor register after three people awaiting transplants received the organs they needed from wife Veronica following her sudden death in December.
Knowing these lives have been saved takes some of the pain awayAlan Friel
Veronica, who was known to many people as Rony, suffered a massive brain haemorrhage at the couple’s home in Winstanley but her kidneys and liver were used in life-saving operations following her death in hospital.
All three recipients, one of whom was astonishingly given an organ the day after joining the waiting list, are doing well and are now either back at home with their families or awaiting discharge from hospital.
Mr Friel will also travel to London later this year to receive the UK Award for Organ Donation, an honour given posthumously to the families and loved ones of donors.
Mr Friel, 72, said: “I’m just so proud of her. She had been on the register for more than 30 years and she always had the little card in her purse.
“The men who received her kidneys had both been on dialysis for a couple of years and someone who was on the list for a transplant for just a day received her liver. It’s just unbelievable and wonderful.
“Knowing these lives have been saved takes some of the pain away. It’s bad enough losing somebody but to think she gave these three lives does help. It’s like her death hasn’t been in vain and it’s some good news to come out of this bad news.”
Mr Friel is also an organ donor himself and says he has been encouraging as many friends as possible to sign up for the register.
His call is being backed by our sister paper the Wigan Evening Post which is aiming to turn the borough into a donor town through its Giving the Gift of Life campaign.
He will travel to St James’ Palace this autumn to receive the award which was created by humanitarian charity the Order of St John recognising the gifts organ donors and their families make by improving and transforming other people’s lives.
Mr Friel says he would encourage anyone to sign the organ donor register and for both himself and his wife it was a fairly straightforward decision.
He said: “It’s just giving someone else a life chance. We’ve always tried to be unselfish people and help others by doing things like charity work or running coffee mornings for Cancer Research,
“I would say to people: be a donor and save somebody else’s life. You don’t need your organs once you’re dead, so think of someone else.
“I asked the organ donation people if it mattered that my wife was 72 and they said it didn’t because your kidneys and liver don’t deteriorate as long as they’ve got a good blood supply. As long as they’ve been looked after and not abused, they can use them.
“I just thought it would be lovely to encourage people.”
To register as a donor or find out more, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk