People from Devon and Cornwall who saved lives through the gift of organ donation have been posthumously honoured at a moving award ceremony.
They received the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, which was given to their families and loved ones on their behalf.
The private award ceremony was held at Sandy Park Conference and Banqueting Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, Devon on 28 April, honouring 12 donors, 10 donors from Devon and 2 donors from Cornwall.
Thousands of families are receiving the award across the UK this year, at regional ceremonies or privately. More than 4,000 people donated their organs after death in 2019, 2020 and 2021, leading to around 10,000 patients’ lives being saved or transformed over those three years*.
Mick Messinger, Chancellor of the Priory of England and the Islands of the Order of St John, said: “We’re delighted to be able to work with NHS Blood and Transplant to run the Order of St John Awards for Organ Donation again. It is so important to recognise all organ donors and it is an inspiration to meet the families attending the ceremonies. Organ donation saves lives, and it is a genuine privilege to be able to say thank you to these families, whose loved ones have had such an impact on others.”
Organ donation is a most precious gift and even though the law around organ donation has changed to an opt out system, it is important that people know that families will still be consulted. It is still just as important as ever to register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and let you family know what you want to happen.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The pride families feel at these moving ceremonies truly is inspirational. Transplant patients tell us that organ donors and their families are heroes and the Order of St John award is a chance for us all to recognise them and their amazing contribution to society.
“We hope these awards will inspire other people in Devon and Cornwall to tell their families they want to save lives. Being clear with your family about what you want makes things easier at a difficult time, leave them certain about your organ donation decision. Families say donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grief and we want to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to donate and save lives.
“Please tell your family about your organ donation decision and join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.”
The Order of St John Award for Organ Donation features the organ donation heart logo backed by the Maltese Cross – which is used by the Order of St John – above the words ‘add life, give hope’. The award can be received at a regional ceremony or sent to the family privately. They are open to people of all faiths or of no faith.
For more information about organ donation, or to register your organ donation decision, please visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23. NHS app users can also use the service to record, check or update their organ donation decision. Please tell your family about your organ donation decision and leave them certain.
You can find out more about the Order of St John awards and view some special videos at https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/helping-you-to-decide/real-life-stories/order-of-st-john-uk-award/
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