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Last Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Memorial to 'hero' organ donors
Gaynor Taylor
Gaynor Taylor's son Richard helped save the lives of six others
Hundreds of families have gathered in Cardiff for the unveiling of a memorial to their relatives who donated their organs to save the lives of others.

Last year 51 people from Wales donated organs, and nearly 100 donated tissue.

Organisers said the stone in the city's Alexandra Gardens was to recognise their "gift of life".

Gaynor Taylor, whose son Richard, 23, died in an in-line skating accident, said agreeing to donate his organs had helped to ease the pain of losing him.

Richard, of Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, died after fracturing his skull when he hit a lamppost trying to avoid a car during a practice run in August 2004.

Richard Taylor skating in his home town of Barry
Richard Taylor was a talented in-line skater

His organs helped save the lives of six others, including the terminally-ill mother of a 10-month-old baby.

Mrs Taylor agreed to allow her son's organs to be donated, and later discovered he had already been registered as a donor.

She said: "If I could do it, perhaps others might find the strength they need.

"To me it meant that Richard's life wasn't in vain, and that some good came out of the tragic loss of a young life."

About 25% of people in Wales are on the donor register, but UK-wide surveys show up to 90% would be prepared to donate their organs when they die.

Last year, 30 people in Wales died while they were on the organ transplant waiting list, according to official figures.

Louise Collar, donor transplant co-ordinator team leader at the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, said technically all families should be approached when the potential for donation was recognised, regardless of whether the person had registered.

Ms Collar said it did not mean the person had not talked about, or expressed a wish to be a donor.

Allison John
This memorial is a chance for me and others who have been lucky to receive a transplant to say thank you
Allison John, organ recipient

She said deciding whether to give permission for donation could be a hard thing for families, but it could also help the grieving process.

After the organs are donated, families are given some "anonymised" details about who has received them.

Ms Collar said: "I've seen families light up when you've given them information about recipients.

"Their fundamental reason of saying yes to donation is that they know that somebody's life will be saved, or greatly enhanced.

"They feel enormous pride for the person that's died."

She said the memorial would mean a lot to families, who feel the people that have saved lives through donation are "heroes".

"We've had so many calls from donor families, they've all said it's such a fabulous idea.

"They're publicly saying thank you to them for all they've done."

The 1.5m (5ft) memorial stone was donated by the Kidney Wales Foundation, which last month launched a campaign to highlight the lives of those on dialysis and waiting for organs.

The unveiling of the stone was very 'special and emotional'

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