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Jarrow mum whose life was saved by transplant backs move towards opt-out donor system

Emma Corkin with daughters Nikita,13 and Ebbie, 11
Emma Corkin with daughters Nikita,13 and Ebbie, 11

A mum from South Tyneside, who was given just 48 hours to live after her liver failed, has welcomed a bill calling for an opt-out system to be brought in.

Emma Corkin’s life was left hanging in the balance in May 2005. After being diagnosed with a rare form of hepatitis, she was placed onto the transplant waiting list.

Organ donation saves lives

Organ donation saves lives

Medics warned the young mum the outcome was bleak unless a donor was found within the next 48 hours.

Luckily, a donor was found - after the mother of a 42-year-old woman in Leeds, who had died in a road accident, made the selfless decision to honour her daughter’s wishes and allow her organs to be donated - and she underwent an emergency liver transplant.

Yesterday, MPs debated whether England should adopt a presumed consent system - where potential donors have to opt out.

The bill was passed at its second reading in a move backed by all parties and will now move to the committee stage.

I am so grateful, this woman took the time to fill in the form, to think about other people and to become a donor. and also to her daughter and her mam, who followed her wishes,

Emma Corkin

It is a significant step towards the move to overhaul the organ donor process which could lead to more lives being saved.

There are currently 6,500 people on the organ donor waiting list and up to three people die each day waiting for an organ to become available.

Emma, 36, from Salcombe Avenue, Jarrow, said: “Unless you are directly or indirectly affected I don’t think it is something you think about.

“I have no issues being an organ donor. It was just something I never thought about or got round to filling the form in for.

Emma Corkin pleased with organ donation bill passing second reading

Emma Corkin pleased with organ donation bill passing second reading

“I think it’s the same with most people, so having an opt-out system is a good idea. It’s common sense and it should have been done a long time ago.

“This could save so many lives. As a recipient, you aren’t told who your donor is, but I do know her age and where she was from and that she had a 12-year-old daughter when she died.

“I have a 13-year-old daughter, and that is hard to think about but I am so grateful. This woman took the time to think about other people and become a donor.”

She added: “If it wasn’t for this lady registering as a donor or her family agreeing to carry out her wishes, I wouldn’t be here. I have a son and two daughters and they wouldn’t have their mam here.

Stephen Hepburn

Stephen Hepburn

“It’s brilliant they are debating this issue but they need to hurry up and get this law passed The longer we wait, the more lives will be lost.

“We shouldn’t have been following Wales on this issue. We should have been leading the way.”

The latest news from the House of Commons has also been welcomed by the family of little Fatimh Qazi.

The six-year-old, who is a pupil at Keelmans Way school in Hebburn, has undergone two heart transplants since she was born.

Mum Shazeb, from South Shields, said: “There are so many children waiting for a transplant, people don’t seem to recognise the need and the importance of organ donation.

“We didn’t until Fatimh needed a transplant. But we are all now donors and we also had 78 of our family and friends sign up, because of my baby.

“The law needs to be changed. We need more donors so more lives can be saved.”

Both Emma and Fatimh’s families got behind the Gazette’s In Miley’s Memory campaign launched in memory of Miley Turbitt who died when a heart failed to be found in time.

The campaign led to more than 2,500 people in South Tyneside becoming organ donors and a petition, handed in by her family, to Downing Street calling for an opt-out system to be put in place.

Backing the move, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn said: “I’m pleased to support this Bill alongside campaigners and other MPs who are pressing the Government to move to an opt-out system of organ donation in England. This will save lives up and down the country.”