JUST 25 deceased people in Essex had their organs donated last year, prompting an urgent call for families to talk about their dying wishes.

The Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report for 2018/19 reported a record number of deceased organ donors across the UK at 1,600, but significantly less so in Essex.

Fifty-one residents have died before they received the organ they so desperately needed in the last five years.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “There are 123 people in Essex waiting for a transplant now. Their only hope for a new life is that a family in their time of grief will make the wonderful decision to agree to organ donation.

“With the law around organ donation changing in England from next spring, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”

Southend Standard:

The incision went down Danny's sternum and across to his liver

Only one per cent of the half a million people who die each year will die in circumstances which allow their organs to be donated.

Nationally, 225 less deceased people were eligible than in 2017/18.

Without a liver transplant, Danny Hiles would not have a renewed “purpose in life”.

The 33-year old waited about seven months for a new liver after being diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disorder which causes copper poisoning in the body.

He said: “I had four phone calls but the first three times, the liver wasn’t in good enough condition. It’s a stressful process but you have to trust the doctors.”

Since the operation at King’s College Hospital in London, Danny, who recently moved from Colchester, has been recovering around family.

All he knows about his donor is their age - the person was younger than Danny - and gender.

He said: “My transplant means I can carry on living a normal life - keep doing my charity work through Musicians Supporting the Homeless and won’t be leaving my family to grieve the loss of someone they care about.

“I can also finish travelling and see more of the lovely world we live in.

Southend Standard:

Danny Hiles a week after his operation and looking well

“I always knew I’d need a transplant at some point so subconsciously, I think that affected my attitude to having a family and thinking clearly about a career as I knew there would be some big disruption at some point, and the possibility of it going wrong.

“Now I feel more clear-headed and like I have a purpose in life.

“I’m more determined to make the world a better place and do the organ donor and their family proud.”

Next year, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate, or are in one of the excluded groups which includes under-18s, people who lack mental capacity, and visitors to England.

But families of potential donors can still refuse despite the law change.

The NHS Blood and Transplant service say this is why sharing your decision with relatives and your next of kin is so important.

Danny added: “I’ve spoken to people who have had liver transplants over 30 years ago and they’re still going strong so as long as I look after myself, the organ donor has at least doubled my life expectancy.

“I can write to the family in the future. I’ll wait for a year when I’m fully recovered and then tell them what I’ve been up to in the hope it brings some solace to the family as the donor was younger than me.”

Learn more at organdonation.nhs.uk.