To mark the day that Scotland changes it law on organ donation, the daughter of a man who had a life-saving liver transplant during lockdown is taking on a challenge in his honour and to raise money for the British Liver Trust, which supports adults affected by a liver condition.
Natalie Deans from Glasgow is running 135km over the course of a month - 1 km for each day, on average, an adult on the organ donation waiting list has to wait for a life-saving liver transplant. She’s starting her challenge on 26th March 2021 to coincide with the day that organ donation law in Scotland changes to an opt-out system.
Natalie says: “During the first lockdown my dad got sick. He'd had liver problems in the recent past but a bout of sepsis ravaged his liver and he went downhill fast. He spent a few months battling liver health-related issues before we were told he'd need a liver transplant.
“He'd been on the list 45 days and we were told it was a now or likely never scenario. Fortunately for him, on November 22nd 2020 my dad has his transplant and a second chance at life. If my dad had to wait 135 days on the transplant list, this run would be in memory of him, not in honour of him.
“I’m running for the British Liver Trust because they support people with liver problems through support groups, information and their nurse-led helpline, but they also campaigns for early detection, treatments and prevention of liver disease.”
A change in the law
The law around organ donation in Scotland moves to an opt-out system on 26th March to allow more people to save more lives.
All adults in Scotland will be considered as willing to donate when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family they don’t wish to donate. Adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead.
This brings Scotland in line with England and Wales, which already have an opt-out organ donation system.
Pamela Healy OBE, Chief Executive at the British Liver Trust says: “We’re delighted that Natalie has taken on this challenge to help raise awareness of organ donation and support liver patients. A liver transplant really can be the gift of life and we owe an enormous debt to all organ donors and their families. The law change is a good step forward but it’s still really important to let your loved ones know your wishes to support your decision at a difficult time.”
You can track Natalie's progress on her fundraising page (external link).