Five years ago, just before his second transplant, Harry (nearly five years old then) and Clare, his mum, were interviewed on Breakfast TV. Harry laughed his way through the piece and then, still laughing, ran off round the studio and kept staff busy trying to catch him. The presenters quickly moved on to a report about broadband but it was too late. Harry won the day and captured the hearts of many, a persuasive invitation to have the conversation about organ donation. See for yourself – just click this link .
In Harry’s case the conversation – many of them – had been about his dad, Simon, becoming a living donor. The liver is a miraculous organ and has the capacity to regenerate. Simon was able to donate part of his liver in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, from where it was then taken a couple of miles down the road to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH) where it became the life transforming gift for his son. Clare’s attention was stretched between Simon and Harry as they recovered, as well as with Harry’s younger brother, Sam.
Now, if there’s a call out to support an event for the hospital, or to raise a voice for organ donation, join a debate, make the case or celebrate the new life it can all bring for others, it’s a family commitment to respond and they’re one of the first to the line. Clare is now one of the BCH Governors, and a champion for its work.
Harry was soon “super better” and can now “run really fast”. Harry and Simon both participate in the Transplant Games, Harry as a transplant athlete pouring his energy into a variety of sports alongside his young peers and Simon competing with other “live donors” in the swimming pool. It’s hard to decide which one of the two, dad or son, gets the loudest cheers and longest applause. It’s more than medals and the Games, of course, as Harry’s words make clear.
“When I received my transplant my donor gave to me… the chance to go to school, make friends, become a Cub Scout and play Minecraft”.
And more time to laugh. And make everybody else feel like joining in. In this story there’s a donor who can be thanked directly, though there is probably not much that could be better thanks than hearing Harry’s joy-filled laughter and having the rest of the family join in. And that’s a great reason for having these conversations.