The parents of a little girl who received the gift of life four years ago are encouraging families to talk about organ donation.
Last month, Lyanne and Ross Andrews, from Moray, Scotland, waved their ten-year-old daughter, Ehryn, off at the school gates as she started P6 – a moment they cherish every year.
In 2015, following a battle with a rare form of cancer and life-threatening sepsis, Ehryn needed a lifesaving heart transplant. For two months, the brave youngster waited for a donor heart to become available at Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, 300 miles away from home. During this time her parents were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity which gave them a place to stay at Scott House, just minutes from Ehryn’s hospital bedside. Lyanne and Ross are joining forces with The Sick Children’s Trust in supporting NHS Blood and Transplant in raising awareness of children organ donation on World Heart Day (Sunday 28 September). 39 year old mum Lyanne, who works as a staff nurse, said:
“Both Ross and I are in favour of the opt-out organ donation system. We obviously know the difference a donor can make and hope it will increase organ donation.
“We want to encourage every single person to have the conversation with their loved ones, it is so important that your family know your choice. If someone had not made such a selfless decision four years ago then we would be facing a very different future, and a future without Ehryn.”
Ehryn who wants to work in an Ice Cream truck with her friends is doing well post-transplant. She loves music lessons, plays the violin and recently started horse riding. As she continues to live her life to the full, her parents are on a mission with The Sick Children’s Trust to get people talking about organ donation.
The Sick Children’s Trust plays a vital role in supporting families with children waiting for an organ transplant by keeping them together across is free ‘Homes from Home’, located just a few minutes’ walk from children’s hospital wards. Despite changes to the law around organ donation, the laws are not applicable to those under the age of 18 meaning support for families from The Sick Children’s Trust will be just as important as ever as children will still face a wait for a transplant, often far away from home. Jane Featherstone, Chief Executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“Every day at The Sick Children’s Trust we meet families who are facing the agonising wait for the news that an organ has become available for their child. They could be waiting for many months with their child in hospital. On average, a child waiting for a donor heart will wait two-and-a-half times longer than an adult on the list, often at a hospital far away from home. Parents find themselves having to split their time between children, travelling hundreds of miles to be with their child in hospital, with many sleepless nights in their bedside chairs.
“Until more awareness is raised around organ donation for children, The Sick Children’s Trust promises to be there for these families, giving them a comfortable place to stay just minutes away from their child’s hospital bedside.
“When the new law is implemented, the family of a loved one will continue to play a vital role in organ donation. This is why we are calling on parents and children across the UK to talk about it. Know what your loved one’s decision is and register your choice with NHS Blood and Transplant.”
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit sickchildrenstrust.org