Son’s death has helped to save lives of others

Stevie Graham
Stevie Graham

A father has told how his family took comfort after finding out his son’s death had helped save the lives of others.

Stevie Graham, 32, died from injuries he sustained after being hit by a taxi when he was crossing the road in Darlington at the beginning of February.

Barry Graham receiving the St John Order for organ donation from Newcastle Lord Mayor, Councillor George Pattison on behalf of his sone Stevie, who died in February.

Barry Graham receiving the St John Order for organ donation from Newcastle Lord Mayor, Councillor George Pattison on behalf of his sone Stevie, who died in February.

After his death, his parents Barry and Stef, of Greensfield Moor Farmhouse, Alnwick, were asked about organ donation and decided to proceed.

Barry has said that he and his family, which also includes sons Joe, Michael and David, and daughter Katie have taken ‘great comfort’ from knowing that Stevie has helped others, including a baby boy.

He said: “Stevie had never really mentioned organ donation. But we decided as a family that he would like to do it and made that decision when he was in hospital in Middlesbrough, when we knew he wasn’t going to survive.

“His organs went to three people straight away and we heard recently that two others received his heart valves.

“It is really very comforting to know that he has helped to save the lives of others.

“Stevie never threw anything away so we thought that he would want to do it.”

Stevie has now been given a posthumous award for organ donation.

Barry was presented with the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation by the Newcastle Lord Mayor, Coun George Pattison, at a ceremony in Newcastle, on behalf of the NHS Blood and Transplant service.

He was one of 22 people who collected an award on behalf of their loved ones in the North East, recognising donors who give the ultimate gift of life through organ donation.

Barry told the Gazette that only a few days after Stevie’s death, on February 7, they were told about his organs being donated.

One of his kidneys was transplanted into a woman in her mid-60s who had been waiting for less than a month.

His other kidney and pancreas were transplanted into a man in his 40s who had been on dialysis for a year.

And Stevie’s liver was given to a man in his 40s who had been on the waiting list for less than a month.

“At that time it was very comforting to hear that other people were being helped,” Barry said.

But the most recent transplants have struck a bigger chord. Stevie’s heart valves have been given to a baby boy and a teenage girl, and Barry said that knowing he’s giving youngsters another chance is even more poignant.

He added: “We would definitely urge other people to sign the register for organ donation. Stevie would have wanted to help other people.

“He was such an outgoing person and so generous, he took to everybody and was very fun-loving.”

Stevie was a chef and photographer and at the time of his death was living in Sri Lanka with his girlfriend Minola.

He was home for a holiday when the tragedy happened. He was due to return to the country to open a restaurant where he was going to employ people who hadn’t had a chance to work.

Barry added: “He wanted to help people and make a difference.”

Stevie was hit by a taxi on February 2 and died five days later from his injuries.

Since his death, his family has raised more than £8,000 for two charities in Sri Lanka – The Rainbow Centre Foundation and the Unity Mission Trust.

The Order of St John Award for Organ Donation was launched last year to honour the gift that donors and their families make by donating their organs to save and improve the lives of others.

Up to nine lives can be saved or transformed by just one donor, while many more can be helped through the donation of tissues.

Between April 2013 and March 2014, families of 1,320 people in the UK agreed to donate their loved ones’ organs.

Sign the register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.