Family of young organ donor urge others to sign up to the Organ Donor Register

Jordan (middle) with proud parents Colin and Dawn.

Jordan (middle) with proud parents Colin and Dawn.

A Lisburn family have given their backing to Organ Donation Week in memory of their beloved son who passed away at just 22 years old.

Despite his young age, Jordan Kennedy had registered as an organ donor, sparing his family from making the difficult decision of whether to donate his organs following his death in October 2014.

And now his father Colin has spoken of the comfort the family has received, knowing that Jordan’s decision to be an organ donor has saved other lives.

Speaking to the Ulster Star, Colin said: “Knowing that Jordan’s donations have helped people was a comfort and continues to be a comfort to this day,”

He added: “Twice a year we receive updates on the people who have received Jordan’s organs; we know that through Jordan’s donations other people have benefited and continue to benefit.”

The Kennedy family are backing National Organ Donation Week, which runs from September 5-11.

The theme this year is ‘Turn an End into a Beginning’ and the campaign will focus on encouraging individuals to sign the Organ Donor Register and to discuss their decision about organ donation with those closest to them.

Only 55% of families agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s wishes, so it is very important to share your decision with your loved ones, to make the situation less stressful for them and give them the confidence to fulfil your wish of being an organ donor.

Colin added: “We as a family decided that if and when Jordan would pass then we believed his wishes were that he would like to be an organ donor.

“His mum, his brother Jared and myself discussed what we thought his best wishes would be.

“We discussed it and had been in contact with organ donor coordinator and they informed us that Jordan had actually registered himself as an organ donor when he was 15 years old.

“We had no idea, but it made us relax as now we knew what his wishes were as he had signed up himself.

“The transplant team did their work, the co-ordinator at the Ulster Hospital was fantastic, they stayed with us all day and have remained in contact with us.”

Results of a recent recent survey show that the majority of people living in Northern Ireland would accept an organ if they needed one yet only 36% of us have signed the Organ Donor Register.

Around 200 people in Northern Ireland are currently on the transplant waiting list but with a real shortage of organs more donors are desperately needed. Sadly every year around 15 people in Northern Ireland die waiting for an Organ Transplant.

Heather Savage, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, added: “Organs will only be used if that is your wish so please have that important conversation about your wishes with your family today.

“Putting your name on the NHS Organ Donor Register makes it easier for the NHS to establish your wishes and for those closest to you in life to follow them so you can ‘Turn an End into a Beginning’.”

To sign on the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonationni.info