Jack Leggett's parents call for South Tynesiders to become life-saving heroes
The father of Jack Leggett, whose organs gave the gift of life to three other people after his death, is calling on others to become life-saving heroes like his son.
Jack’s father Alfie made the plea as new figures released today reveal 25 people in South Tyneside have died while waiting for a transplant in the last 10 years.
The tragic number of deaths has been made public by NHS Blood and Transplant to raise awareness of the desperate need for people to become organ donors.
There are currently 12 people in the borough on the transplant waiting list, hoping that today will be the day they will receive a call to say a donor has been found.
This week is Organ Donation Week and NHS Blood and Transplant are urging people to not only sign up to be a life-saving hero but to let their families know of their wishes.
Hundreds of life-saving transplants are being missed due to families not knowing what their relative wanted, while a reluctance to talk about the issue is contributing to a deadly shortage of organs.
Mr Leggett, alongside his partner and Jack’s mam Susan Clarkson, took the brave step in allowing their nine-year-old son’s organs to be donated following his death from a brain tumour.
He said: “We were devastated when we lost Jack and when the doctors asked us about organ donation, we didn’t need to think twice.
“As parents, if an organ would have saved Jack we would have had no hesitation in accepting one so it was only right that we allowed Jack’s organs to be donated to give someone else the gift of life.
“It’s a decision we have never regretted and it’s nice to know that a little bit of Jack is living on and helping to give someone a chance of life they would have never had.
“Please, take the time to speak to your family and make sure they know you want to be an organ donor.”
NHS Blood and Transplant wants everyone in Tyne and Wear to be able to save lives through organ donation and not be prevented from doing so because they have not told a relative their decision.
Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Tyne and Wear waiting for transplants.
“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.”
To become an organ donor visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23