My sister gave life to others: So should we

First published in Jack Straw column Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , MP for Blackburn

I once had an organ donor’s card, but mislaid it years ago.

I had given its loss no thought until two weeks ago, and we were faced with a family tragedy. I rarely talk publicly about my family in any circumstances.

It’s the only way, in my view, to protect their privacy.

But I am breaking my own rule now, because I think there’s a wider point to be made; and in any event a person’s death is itself a matter of public record.

My sister Suzy was fit and healthy, or so it seemed.

Aged 67, she usually passed for 50, or less.

She was single, had never had children, and lived life to the full.

Unbeknown to her, or anyone else, she had a weak heart. While staying with friends in Edinburgh three-and-a-half weeks ago, she collapsed from heart failure.

She was lucky to be close to one of the best hospitals in Europe.

She spent 12 hours in the operating theatre.

There was a fair chance that she might have been saved.

But after nine days in intensive care it was clear that she could never recover.

She had made a “Living Will” which gave clear instructions that in such circumstances she did not wish her life needlessly to be prolonged.

She died the following day.

Suzy had also registered as an organ donor.

We, Suzy’s next of kin, were asked our views.

It was Suzy’s wish that her healthy organs should be used to help others.

Who were we to object?

The eye which was then removed is, we hope, now giving new sight to its recipient.

The transplant team handled the whole matter with great sensitivity; and there was no disfigurement discernible to her face.

The whole experience has brought me up sharp, with the importance of as many people as possible registering as donors – me included.

Organ donation can always improve the quality of others’ lives and, in some cases, save lives altogether.

Comments (8)

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2:56pm Thu 20 Oct 11

l m h jones says...

given your comments can we hope that you will support any future votes to make organ donation an opt out rather than opt in system? By the way well done to your sister and to you for sharing this strory
given your comments can we hope that you will support any future votes to make organ donation an opt out rather than opt in system? By the way well done to your sister and to you for sharing this strory l m h jones
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Thu 20 Oct 11

akon says...

Who would want anything from your body Jack ?
A shame for your sister,just a pity it wasn't you !!
Who would want anything from your body Jack ? A shame for your sister,just a pity it wasn't you !! akon
  • Score: 0

11:18pm Thu 20 Oct 11

Mill62 says...

Perhaps you could donate your 2 faces.
Perhaps you could donate your 2 faces. Mill62
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2:47pm Sat 22 Oct 11

Seneca says...

I thought you had already donated the truthful section of your brain to someone else.

Your father donated his place in the trenches to someone else too!
I thought you had already donated the truthful section of your brain to someone else. Your father donated his place in the trenches to someone else too! Seneca
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7:07pm Sun 23 Oct 11

district01 says...

You just don’t get it do you Jack!
Always displaying a human aspect whilst failing as a politician after taking advantage of biased voting powers within Blackburn and then succumbing to Tony Blair’s temptations. Anything towards your own status is fine by you but just take a long look at the mess you‘ll be leaving behind!
You just don’t get it do you Jack! Always displaying a human aspect whilst failing as a politician after taking advantage of biased voting powers within Blackburn and then succumbing to Tony Blair’s temptations. Anything towards your own status is fine by you but just take a long look at the mess you‘ll be leaving behind! district01
  • Score: 0

11:58pm Sun 23 Oct 11

cocococo says...

Well Jack I will stick up for you.... Once again the numptys of Blackburn... Usually male... Show their lack of Breeding... I have had the pleasure of meeting you on several occasions and have always found you extreamly helpful....You are a true Gentleman, a rather endangered species around Blackburn....Please except my sympathy at the sad loss of your dear Sister Jack.....I was at the St James residents meeting on Friday and you where the kind and caring person that you usually are.....Blackburn is very lucky to have such a caring MP....Good Luck Jack and best wishes...
Well Jack I will stick up for you.... Once again the numptys of Blackburn... Usually male... Show their lack of Breeding... I have had the pleasure of meeting you on several occasions and have always found you extreamly helpful....You are a true Gentleman, a rather endangered species around Blackburn....Please except my sympathy at the sad loss of your dear Sister Jack.....I was at the St James residents meeting on Friday and you where the kind and caring person that you usually are.....Blackburn is very lucky to have such a caring MP....Good Luck Jack and best wishes... cocococo
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11:18pm Mon 24 Oct 11

district01 says...

Yes your quite right cocococo, everyone has a right to there own opinion!
However, your ‘cocococo’ name has brought back an as yet unfulfilled search for information regarding the very special record that I remember from way back in the 1950’s by a group of singers called the ‘Cocomo’s. It was a single 78 rpm label entitled ‘Cocomo’ surprising as that may seem? Obviously it may not have been to everyone’s taste but as already mentioned everything is down to personal opinion. Therefore I would appreciate anyone who may be able to shed some light on this recording and to thank ‘cocococo for the reminder!
Yes your quite right cocococo, everyone has a right to there own opinion! However, your ‘cocococo’ name has brought back an as yet unfulfilled search for information regarding the very special record that I remember from way back in the 1950’s by a group of singers called the ‘Cocomo’s. It was a single 78 rpm label entitled ‘Cocomo’ surprising as that may seem? Obviously it may not have been to everyone’s taste but as already mentioned everything is down to personal opinion. Therefore I would appreciate anyone who may be able to shed some light on this recording and to thank ‘cocococo for the reminder! district01
  • Score: 0

5:25pm Tue 25 Oct 11

JustJack says...

A powerful message and a wonderful way to honour your sister.

I've lost a sister, I know your pain. My heart goes out to you and your family.
A powerful message and a wonderful way to honour your sister. I've lost a sister, I know your pain. My heart goes out to you and your family. JustJack
  • Score: 0

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