The very first blog post on the Live Loudly Donate Proudly website! We are so excited and proud to finally be sharing the site with you all, and to be able to spread our message further.
Firstly, some details about the people involved in the campaign.
Live Loudly Donate Proudly is a campaign set up by Lucia Quinney Mee (me!) and a group of ten others. Noelle Hyland, a close friend of mine who is a sales rep, and very passionate about organ donation. Mary McAfee, an organ donation specialist nurse who works hard to promote the cause. Anne Henderson, an artist from Rathlin, who designed the cards and the logo. Jonathan Mitchell, a computer whizz, who works on all technical (and other) areas of the campaign. Alexia and Jeremy McCook, who sadly lost their son Craig, in a road traffic accident and who courageously and selflessly agreed to donate his organs. Karen Acheson, the sister of an Organ Donor who has also found some comfort in knowing that his organs have helped and saved the lives of others. David, Rachel and Alice Quinney Mee, my parents and sister, who feel very strongly about raising the profile of organ donation, and are the biggest and best support I could ever wish for. Which just leaves myself.
I will do a whole blog post about my own story, and the journey that led me to the campaign, but for now, I don’t want to make this too long and detailed. So, to make a long story short; when I was eight I got extremely ill , and that’s where everything started. My first liver transplant lasted less than a year, before we knew I would need a second, and a year to the day of my first, I was re-listed for a second liver transplant.
For the next six years, hospitals, illness, blood tests and much more, all became a part of my normal life and the hospital became a second family and home to me. However, I also managed to live a full and vibrant life within those six years, competing at five British Transplant Games, one World Transplant Games, and so much more that was only possible because of the insurmountable gift my donor and their family gave me.
After six years though, I was seriously ill and the transplanted liver began to give up and I was re-listed for my third liver transplant. Here is where the idea for the campaign came in.
I had always wanted to do as much as I could to raise awareness of Organ Donation and transplants but not gone further than speaking at public events or joining in with existing efforts. I knew I had something a little different to say about it, and it was whilst I was ill and waiting for my third transplant that the idea came in. Whilst I was at home, I felt I needed something to do and focus on, so I started to write down ideas and eventually the idea for my own campaign started. I wrote out a campaign plan, played around with ideas for names and even thought about whether it should be a registered charity or not. I decided I wanted to start with just the campaign, because I felt that it would enable the focus to be solely on raising awareness and getting the message across, rather than asking people for money.
Myself and Alice (my sister) and our parents all came up with the name together, after playing around with different ideas for a while. It came from wanting people to really focus on telling everyone that you want to be an organ donor, and being proud of that decision – hence Live LOUDLY Donate PROUDLY!
I also wanted something that portrayed the message of living loudly in everyday life. This doesn’t mean going around shouting and screaming (although sometimes it might!), to me this means grabbing every opportunity you are offered but also creating your own opportunities, that sometimes aren’t apparent to you. It means actively seeking a ‘loud’, vibrant and full life. It means appreciating everything good and bad in life, purely because it’s LIFE!
The campaign is promoting organ donation, but it’s also promoting living. For me, the two go hand in hand. By being an organ donor, you are allowing another person the chance to grab the possibilities that come with being alive. For me, organ donation is just about living together on this planet, and doing what we can to help each other.
Live Loudly Donate Proudly is striving to get organ donation onto the national school curriculum, so that young people are taught about it from a young age, and it becomes the norm rather than the exception. The more we educate people, the more normal it is to discuss – which means more people will know what to do when they are asked if their loved one wanted to be an organ donor.
This is ultimately what it’s all about, the families. The donor families are the ones who carry out their loved one’s wishes, and who have the control in the end. We need to make sure that there is an open and honest dialogue between families and friends, about this issue and about life and death in general. Why do we so often fear death? In the end it happens to -literally- every single one of us. It’s just the next step of the journey for us. Live Loudly Donate Proudly is about enjoying and making the most of all aspects of life and death.
By education, communication and conversation, we can make the difference that all those people waiting for organ transplants so desperately need. Let’s all do what we can to help our fellow humans. Let’s be the change we want to see in the world. Organ Donation is a good place to start.
You sign up – I’m signing off.
See ya soon,