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Organ Donation Week 2017: Norwich family’s plea for opt-out organ donor register

Seamus and Liam Kelleher, with their mother Jacqui Middleton, after their 500-mile bicycle challenge. Photo:  Jade Demuir-Jones

Seamus and Liam Kelleher, with their mother Jacqui Middleton, after their 500-mile bicycle challenge. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones

Jade Demuir-Jones

A family is calling for people to be automatically enrolled on the organ donation register after their mother spent years waiting for a kidney transplant decades ago - only to find herself back on the waiting list again.

Left to right, Liam Kelleher, Jade Demuir-Jones, and Seamus Kelleher, who have raised money for Kidney Research. Pictured with Seamus' girlfriend Emily and Jade's daughter Molly. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones Left to right, Liam Kelleher, Jade Demuir-Jones, and Seamus Kelleher, who have raised money for Kidney Research. Pictured with Seamus' girlfriend Emily and Jade's daughter Molly. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones

Jacqui Middleton, 56, first had kidney problems more than 20 years ago after suffering with kidney stones, and was told she would need to have a transplant.

And her daughter, Jade Demuir-Jones, said she initially spent around eight or nine years on dialysis as she had such a rare blood type it was difficult to find a match,

But eventually, Jacqui was found a match, and for the last 20 years has lived a normal life, raised her four children and moved to France.

However, 35-year-old Jade, who lives in Norwich, said her mother had suffered some health difficulties, and had since been told she needed another transplant.

“It’s worrying for all of us,” said Jade, who along with her brothers has raised thousands of pounds for Kidney Research.

“But the one good thing is that in France, everyone is a donor, so you have to opt out. So hopefully the waiting list is a bit shorter.

“It just saves so many families the heartache of watching and waiting,” she said.

“And the never really knowing if or when [their loved one] is going to get better.

“It was very difficult for us growing up, while we were waiting mum spent a lot of time in hospital, my stepdad had two jobs and my grandma played a huge part.”

If the system were to change, it could have meant Jacqui was able to have a transplant sooner.

Jade and her brothers Ellis Corio, 37, Liam Kelleher, 31, and Seamus Kelleher, 29, have since raised thousands of pounds for charity through a range of activities, including running a half marathon and tackling an iron man competition.

Liam and Seamus last week completed a 500-mile sponsored cycling trip in France, finishing at their mother’s house.

Jade Demuir-Jones, Liam Kelleher and Seamus Kelleher. Photo:  Jade Demuir-Jones Jade Demuir-Jones, Liam Kelleher and Seamus Kelleher. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones

“My mum was thrilled when they arrived,” Jade said.

And Seamus is also in the middle of 24 months worth of challenges designed to raise much-needed funds for Kidney Research.

To donate to the family’s fundraising effort, click here.

Seamus Kelleher, with his mother Jacqui Middleton. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones Seamus Kelleher, with his mother Jacqui Middleton. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones

Seamus and Liam Kelleher, during their 500-mile bicycle challenge. Photo:  Jade Demuir-Jones Seamus and Liam Kelleher, during their 500-mile bicycle challenge. Photo: Jade Demuir-Jones

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