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Updated 27 April 2023

23 September 2022

Staff from Dorset County Hospital are encouraging people to talk to their families about organ donation after experiencing first-hand the difference it can make.

Jon Fox, Service Manager at Dorset County Hospital, received a liver transplant when he was just eight and HR Manager Kelly Upton’s son received a liver transplant last year at the age of seven.

Service Manager Jon Fox and HR Manager Kelly Upton

They are sharing their experiences as part of national Organ Donation Week, which runs from 26 September to 2 October, and are asking families to talk to each other about their wishes.

Nationally, someone dies every day in the need of an organ, and there are almost 7,000 people currently on the active transplant waiting list.

Kelly’s son, Louis, has a rare genetic condition and was added to the transplant list in 2019. Last summer, when Louis was 7, Kelly and her husband received the call to say there was a match and he was blue-lighted to King’s College Hospital in London where he received his transplant.

“Organ donation transformed Louis’ life. It has massively impacted the way that his body can cope and will cope as he gets older. It’s important to mark the life of Louis’ donor. Saying thank you will never ever be enough, but we do things as a family to mark Louis’ donor’s life. It’s such a huge range of emotions, because you are so grateful that your family member has received the most incredible gift, but you are also aware that another family is grieving for their loved one.

“Nobody wants to think about their loved ones dying but talking about organ donation is so important as it can transform and save lives, so we really want to make sure people have those conversations and understand the impact that transplants can have on individuals and families.”

Jon received a life-saving transplant in 1997 and is passionate about encouraging families to talk about organ donation. He said: “Just one donor can possibly save nine lives - which is incredible. It’s not a conversation that anybody wants to have, but it’s important to talk with your loved ones so they know your wishes. Without telling loved ones, they may never understand your views around donation and, at the point where the most difficult decision has to be made, your family could stop this – even though it is something that you are passionate about.

“I’ll never be able to thank my donor family enough and I’m incredibly grateful for that gift. It’s made me who I am today, and I don’t take anything for granted.”

Find out more about organ donation and register your decision at www.organdonation.nhs.uk