A widow whose late husband has helped transform people’s lives by donating vital organs says she takes great comfort from knowing he has made a difference.
And Anne Simpson, from Hadston, believes more people should sign up to become a donor after seeing the impact the donations have made to others, including a young child who needed a heart valve.
A Sunderland man who can now play with his grandson has also benefitted.
Brian, 63, and known as Dixie, passed away in the spring of 2012 after suffering a stroke.
Anne and the family made the decision to donate a number of his body parts shortly before his death, while he was on a life-support machine at Wansbeck General Hospital. While she admits it was a tough call to make, the 61-year-old feels it was the correct one.
She said: “It was a difficult decision, but Brian’s brother Colin, who passed away recently, benefitted from a kidney transplant more than 20 years ago.
“It meant that Brian had many more years with his brother and I knew that he would want other people to benefit in that way too.”
Anne added: “The transplant team took us into a little room and asked us how we felt about making organ donations. We opted for his kidneys and a heart valve. He also donated some skin to the Army, for those who were injured in Afghanistan, because our son Wayne used to serve and was based in Northern Ireland.”
It has been a fruitful decision. Anne said: “I was extremely comforted when I received a letter from a gentleman in Sunderland who received one of Brian’s kidneys. Before he got the transplant he was on kidney dialysis. He couldn’t play with his grandson and had to eat certain foods.But after receiving the kidney, he can now play with his grandson and eat normal, everyday foods.
“His heart valve has gone to help a young child. I would encourage anybody to do it. I am on the donor register now.”