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Gift of life organ and tissue donations recognized with special award as Order of St John and NHS Blood and Transplant team up; Fresh plea to people across Scotland as Organ Donation Week begins
PEOPLE in Scotland who have given the gift of life to others through organ donation have been honoured with a special award.
The Order of St John Award for Organ and Tissue Donation honours those who lost their lives within the past year, but whose decision to donate their organs has saved or transformed the lives of others.
The awards are a joint venture between the Order of St John and NHS Blood and Transplant, and are given annually to the family of the donor, in recognition of their exceptional gift.
Presented during Organ Donation Week (September 7-13), the awards are usually bestowed in a national ceremony in Edinburgh. However, due to coronavirus restrictions the ceremony was unable to take place this year.
Instead, families will receive the awards remotely, and be invited to view recorded messages of thanks from representatives of the Order of St John, NHS Blood and Transplant service, and from Gordon Hutchinson, whose life was saved when he received a heart transplant aged 13.
It is also hoped that in future years, when the ceremony can take place again, families who are unable to attend the event will be able to access a similar online resource.
Prior of the Order of St John in Scotland, Major General Mark Strudwick, said: “We understand how important organ donation is in giving people who are waiting for a transplant the chance of life. It is a great privilege for us to work alongside NHS Blood and Transplant for the eighth year running, to help honour these families in this way. The award itself is inscribed with the words ‘add life, give hope’, and that is exactly what these donors and their families have done. They have given hope to someone who so desperately needed it.”
Anthony Clarkson, director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Transplant patients tell us that organ donors and their families are heroes. This award is a chance for us all to recognise their bravery and generosity, and their amazing contribution to society.”
He added: “We hope these awards will inspire other people in Scotland to tell their families that, should they die in circumstances where they could become a donor, then their wish to be a lifesaver would be carried out. Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process and we don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to donate. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk .”
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