‘I just want to say how grateful I am. It’s changed my life.’ North Walsham transplant recipient urges all to sign the Organ Donor Register
- Credit: Archant
Paul Welsh has been back to Derbyshire on holiday with his wife and two children this year.
They did a lot of walking, Mr Welsh enjoyed the occasional glass of wine and then he returned home to North Walsham and his full-time job as a motor mechanic.
He is only able to live the sort of normal life most of us take for granted because a woman signed the organ donor register and her family honoured her wishes after her death.
There are more than 7,000 people on the UK national transplant waiting list and, during the last financial year, more than 1,300 died waiting, or became too ill for a transplant.
Mr Welsh, 54, of Honeysuckle Close, hopes that people across Norfolk and Suffolk will sign the register from today – the start of National Organ Donation Week.
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He had his third kidney transplant just over two years ago and is now feeling 'generally brilliant'.
In August 2009, after the failure of his second kidney, donated by his wife, Mandy, Mr Welsh had to go back to Cromer Hospital's renal dialysis unit three times a week, spending four hours plugged into a machine.
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Family life was heavily disrupted, he often felt unwell, lacked energy, and his diet was very restricted.
Despite these handicaps, Mr Welsh gave countless voluntary hours to raising awareness about organ donation, a role he continues, supporting several charities. Last month saw him, family and friends dress as 'Orgamites' – cartoon organs which are part of a new national initiative – and take part in the Cromer Carnival parade.
And he was thrilled to sign up seven potential donors at a stall on the carnival field.
Mr Welsh only knows that his donor was 67 and from somewhere in the north-east of England.
One day he wants to write and thank her family.
'It will be a very difficult letter to write,' he said. 'I just want to say how grateful I am. It's changed my life.'
Have you got an organ donation story? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org