Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas sign up stalls

Well the last of my stall were held last night in princesshay in exeter. We had a total of 245 people sign up over 6 stalls.

I’m absolutely thrilled, but it did lead to some revelations about people and there views on organ donation. My previous theory was that most people wanted to donate but just didn't get round to doing it. But actually some people just don't like it, others don't agree with it, the principal and indeed some people said they didn't agree with transplant at all. This thoroughly upset me in many ways, does this mean they don't agree with me being alive today, do I bend all the ethics and rules. How can people disagree with something that saves lives and improves the quality of people’s lives? Is the idea of organ donation that horrific to some people?
Well I guess when I got down to the nitty gritty and asked why people didn’t agree with it, most people couldn't really give me a valid reason, they didn't want to think of there death, well I can understand the idea of that but for me I thought about me death for well most of my life, I never planned for living, set on the idea that I was going to die one day in the not so distant future. So therefore I have no taboo over death, it’s something I thought and discussed openly, I didn't want to die but I didn't find thinking about it offensive. So perhaps we need to bring death in to the 21st century, It happens, It horrible and often seems cruel and unfair but isn't it best to plan for the inevitable, it is one thing we can all be sure of, one thing every person has in common, so perhaps to tackle organ donation we need to tackle this deep taboo.

The other reasons I heard were religion, only I was well prepared to tackle this one, that all major religions agreed with organ donation although some one guy tried to tell me that he was a personal friend of the popes and the pope did not agree with organ donation, my patience was wearing thin with this particular know it all.
Other reasons were simply down to lack of knowledge and a greater need for educating people on organ donation. One thing many people came up with is imp not allowed to donate, or I#m on to much medication, guys if I can donate my organs with all the medication iv been on im pretty sure your alright. There are only two illnesses that rule you out for organ donation, that’s HIV & CJD. Sexuality, colour and religion pay no part in this and even the rules have changed for those giving blood now! You are allowed to be a gay male and give blood!

So my sign up stalls are over, I had a great many helpers, who id like to thank, Robyn bennet mostly as she stuck with me through blustering winds and made me laugh constantly, my best friend Julie, Stuarts mum and dad Julie & Pete, my lovely niece Kaylee who's only 9 and managed to sign up around about 10 pp and finally my husband Stu who came and helped out after a full days work.
I hope to carry on my stalls in the new year and also look forward to a few other projects, such as speaker project of which I'm participating on the 14th and already have my first talk at my secondary lined up after wards, my aim is just to educate the student about organ donation and transplant, the decision is up to them, I'm also lining up a few more schools, colleges and unis.

I'm also excited that LLTGL have asked me to work for them as an employee one day a week, doing various other things for them along with my advocate work. So that's all very exciting.


  1. Hey
    Good to hear such positive experiences, and while I do whole hearedly support organ donation(being regstered and all!)there are more bars that HIV and CJD that rule you out, Ive had a friend barred from giving blood not because of medicaion she's on but because of the diagnosis she has,and Ive got personal expereince of organ donation not being possible because of conditions much wider than those two.

  2. I agree with you about peoples perceptions of death needing a shake up but most people never have to face it in their lives.
    As a nurse I have seen a lot of deaths. The one thing that sticks with me is the "person" we know is absent from the event.
    The body is left behind, organ donation makes use of this body to change lives.
    How we can help people understand this, is the challenge we face.

  3. HIV positive patients can donate to HIV positive recipients according to our transplant co-ordinators.

    Donation is a very sensitive subject. Working in ITU it is a subject we deal with not infrequently and many people become very distressed at the thought of their loved one "being cut open and organs taken" when they are facing up to the fact their loved one is dying and active treatment is being withdrawn. Some have said they want their loved one to have a peaceful death and not be taken to theatre immediately their heart stops beating for their organs to be taken.

    I think it is important you don't let peoples attitudes upset you so much Kirstie. Remember it isn't anything personal. No-one is saying they think you shouldn't be alive. What they are probably meaning is that it is a subject that frightens them and they haven't thought too deeply about it. Death is frightening for those who haven't had to contemplate their own mortality so it is understandable that these people quickly put barriers up when it is broached in the form of such stalls. Continual, drip feeding of the importance of donation will certainly help raise awareness and this will lead to people thinking more about organ donation.

  4. I agree with Mark the body is left behind not the soul.Also I am led to believe the Pope was a fully signed donor before he became Pope.The pope is intered in the Vatican after his death and can't be considered as a donor.Bill.

  5. I have batteled this one out with my mum for years. Organ donation was never a subject raised as I was not effected by it until after my transplant. However, I recal from a young age, talking to my sister about it. I was complaining at the time that I was too young to give blood. We both agreed that we could see no point in hanging on to your organs once you were gone if they could help someone else. My mum, however, still stood by the fact that she would never donate, she didnt like the idea of being cut open.

    As soon as my parents found that I needed a transplant and quick, they both joined the register and now 9 years on, Mum carries her card with her. However, she has still said she is squimish and dosnt like the idea of it, but, that she wouldnt want a family to have to wait for a donor.

    I do think it is a huge mix of things and feelings that make people not want to sign up. I think that in some ways people think they are invincible. Not in the way that they will never die, but more so in that they will need a transplant. And I cant help but think, that perhaps, this is part of the reason why people dont want to think about it.

    Often, transplant is shown for alcholics and smokers and other such things that could be considered self inflicted. If people were to some how see that, actully anyone can get sick, but there is often only one way to get better.

  6. Hi,

    It sounds like your sign up stalls were a real success, all you can do is make your points to people who think it's wrong, don't let them get to you. I am constantly argueing with my Dad about it, he doesn't aggree with it and it frustrates me so much, the thing is he can't even come up with a good reason, some people are just so set in their ways there is nothing you can do to change their minds, but I will continue to argue with him about it, because to me it is so important.

    I cannot give blood due to my epilepsy meds (I managed to give blood 3 times before I was diagnosed and started meds so was quite upset when they told me I couldn't anymore), but I figure giving organs is a bit different and if it meant they needed to wean me off my meds while I was on life support in order for my organs to be usable, I don't know if that is something the can or would consider doing..., but if they could I hope they would do that and I know my Husband and Mum know my wishes and would stick to them, I think even my Dad would respect my wishes as he knows how important to me.

    I think organ donation is the most amazing gift you can give and seeing people like you who so deserve them and who live life to the full makes me even more passionate about the whole thing.

    I think you are amazing and the work you do is definately helping spread the word. Keep it up and don't let those few stuborn people get you down! Love Clair xxx

  7. Hi I just avoid thinking about donation. I don't like imagining being cut up when I die. Wish I could decide what to do. My son has CF.

  8. Kirstie no matter what you do in life you are bound to encounter people who disagree with you. While on one level I feel I ought to respect those who refuse transplant (including receiving blood) because of religion I find it impossible to relate to or even condone them - I know there are people whose religious conviction is so strong they would let their own child die rather than receive a blood transfusion which frankly I feel is tantamount to child abuse and social services intervention is needed in such cases regardless of religion.

    I just know that if someone close to me died then it would be a little comfort if their organs were able to save a life because it would mean part of them lives on. For myself personally I would be extremely angry if my relatives would refuse to allow my organs to be used for transplant. Why feed worms when you can save as many as four/five lives?

  9. Thank you for doing the sign up stalls! I think part of the problem is that people are not nearly educated enough. It's still such a taboo subject for some reason so glad you are bringing attention to it!

  10. I have had all the above discussions with my friends some who agree but have not yet signed up ,however, one of my mates says she could not bear to think of any of her friends or her children donating ....but if her children needed and organ she would have no problem with that .....end of argument