Hockey: Wilson praises organ donation as opt-out plan is launched
PUBLISHED: 13:30 15 December 2017
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Lisa Wilson spoke of her late son Tom's decision to donate his organs this week as health secretary Jeremy Hunt launched a new opt-out plan in England, writes Lee Power.
Under the plans, everybody in England would be presumed happy to donate their organs after death, unless they have signed up to a register saying otherwise.
And Hornchurch mum Wilson says she has taken great comfort in knowing her 22-year-old son Tom, who died after a tragic hockey accident in December 2015, has been able to help others.
“I knew very little about organ donation. To me it was about major organs in the body and I found out there was so much more that Tom could donate from valves, long bones to help people walk again, skin tissue for skin grafts where people have had terrible burns,” she said in one of three interviews on different BBC Radio stations earlier this week.
“There is so much more than the major organs and we just said yes, Tom would want you to take everything, retrieve anything that could help anybody.
“When people talk about how many people Tom helped, he helped save and transform the lives of probably up to 50 people and I certainly didn’t know that about organ donation until this happened to my wonderful Tom.
“It’s brought my daughter Pippa and I great comfort to know from an end has come a beginning. From Tom’s tragic death there’s now a little toddler running around who was very close to death, who received a part of Tom’s liver.
“There’s a man who was the recipient of Tom’s heart, who has now seen his grandchildren grow up and is enjoying retirement.
“It gives my goosebumps to think that Tom gave the ultimate gift, the gift of life, it didn’t cost him anything but people are out there now living because of Tom.”
Prime Minister Theresa May announced in October that the Government will shift towards an organ donation system in England which presumes consent.
Hunt said: “We want as many people as possible to have their say as we shape the new opt-out process. It can be a difficult subject to broach, but overcoming this fatal reluctance to talk openly about our wishes is key to saving many more lives in future.”
Donations can be made to the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund (registered charity 1171856) online.