Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Families back organ donor packs

Organ donation
The scheme aims to encourage youngsters to consider organ donation

A family whose young daughter saved three lives through organ donations after death has backed a new scheme to teach pupils about transplants.

Rachel Warden was 11-years-old when she died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage in June 2009.

She had decided at the age of seven that she wanted to donate her organs after her grandfather received a life-saving kidney transplant.

Her kidneys, pancreas and liver were transplanted, saving three lives.

Her parents, Sandra and Craig and brother David were at Clydebank High School for the launch of an organ donation teaching pack, which will be used in lessons to help pupils make informed decisions about the issue.

The family, from Clydebank, said it was important to discuss the issues surrounding transplants and said that ensuring Rachel's organs were donated had given them some comfort.

No-one wants to think about their own death but it is important that young people throughout Scotland learn about the realities of organ donation
Nicola Sturgeon

Mrs Warden, 45, a nursing sister, said: "Her death was a total shock because she was fit and healthy.

"At the age of seven she made us promise that if anything should happen to her she wanted her organs donated, that was the kind of girl she was, she wanted to help others.

"It means something positive has come out of such a tragedy."

Mr Warden, 44, a policeman, said: "It does give comfort to know that she has helped other people live on and saved lives. She paid the ultimate price but she has helped others."

David, 14, is a pupil at Clydebank High, which Rachel would also have attended.

The Wardens feature in a video which accompanies the teaching pack along with two other families who gave or received organs.

'Medical science'

It is aimed at S2-S6 pupils and provides teachers with lesson plans and resources covering the science behind transplants and organ donation to give young people enough material to help them make informed, educated choices about whether to donate their own organs.

One of the other families in the video is that of Aaron Gray, now 13, from Peebles, who received a small-bowel and liver transplant when he was three years old.

He needed transplants because, after heart surgery, he developed a post-operative infection which destroyed his bowel, and then developed liver disease.

His mother Catriona, 45, spoke of her gratitude to the donor who transformed her son's life.

She said: "They are my heroes, it is such a selfless act.

"When we got the phone call to say the organs were available it was unbelievable.

"Before then we had never known a healthy child in all the three years, we spent most of our lives in hospital."

The pack is being distributed to all Scottish secondary schools.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "No-one wants to think about their own death but it is important that young people throughout Scotland learn about the realities of organ donation.

"From the age of 12, they can decide for themselves whether they want to donate their organs in the event of their death.

"By raising awareness of donation and transplantation, dispelling the myths behind the medical science and discussing the ethics, we can ensure they are able to make an informed choice."

Print Sponsor

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