Occasionally I use this blog in rather a self-indulgent way and I suppose this is going to be one of those times but do read on as I’m hoping to convey an important message too. This week has been a tough one for various reasons but Friday I arrived at school and I found some daffodils mysteriously on my desk .. no note, nothing! I have my suspicions and so to avoid any further embarrassment: Thank you. You really don’t know how much these flowers mean.
They’re just a bunch of daffs to most people, but Friday marked the 3rd anniversary of my brother’s death in a motorbike accident. Nick was really into his gardening – he used to come and visit me and spend all his time down my allotment or in my garden with my dad. Daffodils were his favourite flower.
Now that I’ve written motorbike accident most of you are probably thinking one of two things: either a young gun wazzing around or a ZZTop style beardy bloke. At 53 Nick was not young and he wasn’t a typical biker, but bikes were a passion of his and had been all his life. He had something called Marfan syndrome and so had his troubles but was genuinely one of the nicest people I know … he would do anything to help anyone!
After nearly a week in intensive care we were told that he was dying. This was tough but we knew he’d wanted to be an organ donor and so asked if it was a possibility given the situation. Just because you carry a card it doesn’t mean that your organs are used – there are so many variables. The organ donor team in Wales was amazing and tests for matches were done and very quickly we knew it would happen once we’d made the decision. The woman we were dealing with (I’ve forgotten her name!) even said that she was off to make some calls with her phone in her hand. We knew she was going to call the people who would be receiving Nick’s organs. Dealing with our loss was made easier by knowing that he was leaving a wonderful legacy. We knew that 3 or 4 families THAT VERY MORNING were about to get THE long awaited call telling them that a donor had been found for themselves, their son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister. Now that is what I call making a difference.
Sometime after the accident we received two wonderful cards from the recipients of Nicks organs. One of them went like this:
To the family of the donor who so gratefully gave me the kidney that has given me a better quality of life. I will always be forever thankful to your donor who unselfishly gave me a kidney. My name is Kerry I’m 43 and I have a daughter 22. I work looking after vulnerable adults and have done so for 10 years. I love my job. But last year I became ill and had to go on dialysis 4 times a day but still went to work. So when I had a phone Monday 5th March to say we have a donor for you I knew my life was going to change and it was the donor that was going to change it forever.
This is a card to say how very very grateful and overwhelmed I am for giving me a kidney. Every day I think about the donor and what they have done for me. Always in my thoughts. Thank you very much and much more.
My message therefore is: carry a donor card. Not for you. Not for the donor but to help your family deal with your death if the worst should happen. It helped us cope.
We think that what we do is important … it is. I came into teaching to make a difference but I will never make the impact my brother did. I am extremely proud to call him my brother. Nick, I love you. I miss you.