A Wrexham mum whose daughter’s organs were successfully transplanted into three other women is appealing for more people to talk openly about organ donation.
Amy Elizabeth Jones was just 24-years-old when she died on the 11th June, 2015 after a seizure at home four days earlier.
Her heartbroken mother, Sharron Jones, has now spoken out for the first time about her family’s tragedy to promote awareness as part of the national Organ Donation Week which started on Monday.
She said: “It was just like any normal day, I had come home from work, me and Amy had dinner, and then she went upstairs.
“All of a sudden I heard this awful bang and the sound of the door slamming. I immediately ran up the stairs and I tried to open the bathroom door but I couldn’t as Amy’s weight was against it.
“I rang the ambulance and Amy was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital where she was placed on the critical care unit.”
Amy was diagnosed with epilepsy in her late teens and began experiencing absence seizures.
Four days after Amy arrived at Wrexham Maelor Hospital Sharron was told the devastating news that her daughter was not going to recover.
“We were told that if Amy did come back to us, she wouldn’t be the same Amy.
“I am truly grateful to everything the doctors did, the nurses were like angels to us and provided us with so much support, but I knew there was nothing more they could do for her,” added Sharron.
During that time in hospital Sharron was approached by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Organ Specialist Nurse, Abi Roberts, who asked if she had considered organ donation.
She knew her answer straight away as a member of her family had lost their life waiting for a lung transplant.
“I knew right away what Amy would have wanted, we had discussed it openly due to losing a member of our family who was on the transplant list,” said Sharon.
“Amy’s gift of life provided a new life for three other women. One of the recipients received her liver and the two other women received her kidneys.
“I will never get over losing Amy, I will miss not seeing her get married and have children but she’s doing all that now being an organ donor and they are taking care of her.
“It was a very hard decision to make but it was what Amy would have wanted. It’s important that families sit down and discuss organ donation and if anything happens to you it’s important for your family to know what you want.
“You have to put their decision first before your own feelings, I put Amy’s first and I know being the caring young girl she was she’d be happy to know she has helped save the lives of three other people.”
In December 2015 a ‘revolutionary’ new system was introduced in Wales to increase the number of organ donors.
People aged 18 and over who have lived in Wales for more than 12 months and who die in Wales will be regarded as having consented to organ donation unless they have registered a decision to opt out. This is called deemed consent.
Those who want to be an organ donor can register a decision to opt in or do nothing, which will mean they have no objection to being an organ donor. Those people who do not want to be organ donor can opt out at any time.
This week (Monday 3rd – Sunday 9th September) a major campaign is underway to encourage families to talk about organ donation.
Organ Donation Specialist Nurse, Abi Roberts, from the North West Organ Donation Services Team, added: “It’s very brave for Sharron to share her story to encourage others to talk about organ donation.
“It’s important that loved ones know your wishes surrounding organ donation – we have a soft opt in or opt out register in Wales and we want everyone to be aware of this.
“Organ donation is a very personal decision, it can never minimise the grief of a bereaved family but many families, such as Sharron’s, say it does provide them with some comfort knowing that their relative have helped to save and transform the lives of others.”
You can out more about organ donation and to register your decision here.