Wanted: life-saving organ donors

Organ donationA thousand people die every year in need of an organ

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There is an organ donor shortage in the UK with on average three people dying every day in need of an organ. One reason for this is that only around a third of people in the UK are signed up to the Organ Donor Register.

Once you've signed the register, it's vital you tell your friends and family that you want to be a donor and then have a conversation about their wishes, too. Letting them know what you want is a simple conversation to have and could make it an easier decision at a difficult time.

Heart transplants offer the best chance of long term survival for critically ill heart failure patients to recover and lead a full life, like mum Wendy Lingham.

'I thought I was going to die'

Wendy was well until she was 23 but when her son, Josh, was born she was diagnosed with post-partum dilated cardiomyopathy. She was told she had heart failure and put on medication.

“To be told at 23 years old was absolutely devastating. I thought I'd never get to see my son grow up because I was going to die.”

Wendy LinghamHeart failure had profound effects on her life. She developed the symptoms of heart failure including breathlessness and exhaustion.

“I did feel guilty a lot of the time because I wasn't able to do the things other mothers were doing with their children. On a good day I could take him a few metres to a local park..”

In February 2011, Wendy was assessed for a heart transplant. She was given just weeks to live, placed on the emergency list and received her transplant. The night before the operation she said her goodbyes to her best friend, mother, sister and son because she didn't know if she would wake up again. She spent two months in intensive care.

Now she has a completely new lease of life with her Josh. Last year she did a 25-mile bike ride for us and this year is planning to do another BHF 40-mile ride in York.

“I have got a life now; I am not a walking zombie like I was before," she said.

Organ donation facts