Ali Cooper, OD Customer Services Manager, is a Tissue Ambassador for NHSBT. In her very personal blog, she explains why.
In July 1998, my life was turned upside down when my husband unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. He was 38 years old, and we had two young girls at the time aged six and eight.
He was a fit active man who played rugby during the winter, rode his bike to work every day and maintained his fitness levels out of the rugby season by running.
He was prone to lots of injuries so a call to go to our local A&E department was not unusual, but there was something different about that call, and looking at the faces of his friends when I got there, I knew that the worst possible scenario had happened
His sudden and completely unexpected death left me and all of our family and friends devastated, but I knew I had to carry on for the sake of our two daughters.
Coincidentally, there was an item about National Transplant Week on the TV and I approached the nurses at the hospital to ask if there was anything we could donate. I was advised we could donate his corneas and some tissues, to which I readily agreed. We had had a conversation when he was alive as to what we would like to happen, so I knew it was the right decision and it was his wish.
Coming to terms with the future was hard enough, but, knowing that the decision I had made to donate his corneas and tissue had hopefully changed a stranger’s life, made what was a terrible life changing situation a little easier.
To any nurses reading this, don’t be afraid to ask the bereaved family about donation. Nothing you could have said to me at that point would have made the situation any worse.
19 years down the line, my greatest achievement is bringing up my two amazing, beautiful, if somewhat stubborn, (no idea where they get that from) daughters who are a credit to their dad!
I am proud to be a Tissue Donation Ambassador for NHSBT to raise awareness of tissue donation and, in particular, the constant need for corneas to give the gift of sight
I wanted to share my story to encourage everyone to have the conversation and make their wishes known with their family about tissue and organ donation before it’s too late and, hopefully, after reading my story, I can encourage anyone with any doubts to sign up to donate.
To sign up or to update your details please click here.