Be Life!

The World Transplant Games is the biggest and most moving celebration of organ donation and it comes to the UK 17th-24th August. The Jemima Layzell Trust is delighted to launch its ‘Be Life’ campaign by supporting medical personnel for the week long event in Newcastle. “Transplant nurses and medics will be running drop in clinics each day on the south and north side of the river. They will also be providing physio/sport therapists at these clinics and at all the sport venues.” Lynne Holt Transplant Sport The Trust are delighted to donate £2,000 to the running of such a crucial and invaluable service. Our ‘Be Life’ campaign is devoted to promoting awareness for organ transplant. Part of Jemima’s incredible legacy was her willingness to donate her organs. At the age of 13 she made the decision to donate all her major organs and the Trust continues to highlight how lives can be saved through transplant. “At the end of last year we researched and developed our own unique teaching aids. Ten sets of fabric organs were created which have been taken to schools, both secondary and university level, as well as WI’s to help spark conversation about organ donation. Each of our talks is custom made and we are keen to book more. It’s so important to get the conversation started especially with the new Opt Out law coming up.” Yvette Milliner Trustee The new organ donation law comes into effect in Spring 2020, which means it’s more important than ever to discuss your wishes with your loved ones. We are heading for a ‘soft’ opt-out option, so there is a danger that your decision, either way, could be overruled by your next of kin if you don’t make your wishes explicitly clear. “My husband Harvey and I are grateful that we had, by complete chance, discussed this with our daughter Jemima shortly before her death. She understood the power of organ donation and said that if ever it came to it she would donate. We never imagined we would have to honour her decision so soon. At all in fact.” Sophy Layzell Born bang on her due date Jemima's arrival wasn't planned but then neither was her death. She collapsed in March 2012 following a burst aneurism on the left side of her brain which despite remarkable hospital care she never recovered from. Guided through the process by the organ donation team her family then agreed for all her main organs to be harvested, her corneas and liver stem cells to be gathered. “Her arrival in our life meant that for the first time I was able to look at someone and see similar features reflected back at me. She was my first blood relation. I had been adopted as a baby into a wonderful family but instantly felt this deep connection to this tiny mini me. This made her death particularly hard for me personally.” Sophy Layzell “Carrying out her wishes to donate her organs after her death was incredibly tough. Even though we knew her wishes, it still felt very hard to say yes, especially for her heart. Your instinct is to preserve and protect your child. But it’s a decision we become more glad of every day.” Harvey Layzell She was 13 when she died so hadn't experienced those big landmarks - GCSE's, learning to drive, first love, graduation, marriage. But for her parents it's incredibly comforting that she still lives on in others. Her life was not in vain. She gave hope and new memories to 11 families and the ripple effects are an incredible legacy. “It's not easy when you are facing your child's mortality head on and the question of organ donation comes up, but I would urge every parent to have a chat now, while you can, not just about organ donation but death in general. By facing it and discussing it we can take the fear away and by knowing your loved ones wishes any hesitation and doubt can be dispelled. Life is so precious and it's wonderful to know that hope for many people on the transplant list is just around the corner.” Harvey Layzell The Transplant Games is a time to honour all donors, as recipients and donor families come together to share stories and experiences. To join the donor register and be part of the Jemima Layzell Trusts ‘Be Life’ campaign follow the link.