Hartlepool dad restored sight of two people and changed other lives by donating four organs

Gemma McLean and her dad Alan McLean.
Gemma McLean and her dad Alan McLean.

The proud daughter of a Hartlepool man is supporting a national awareness campaign for more people to become organ donors after her dad changed several people’s lives.

Alan McLean was a seemingly fit and healthy 59-year-old when he suddenly suffered a bleed on the brain in February last year and died a few days later.

Gemma McLean accepting an Order of St John award in honour of dad Alan's organ donation.

Gemma McLean accepting an Order of St John award in honour of dad Alan's organ donation.

But he changed people’s lives by donating his whole heart valve, both kidneys, pancreas and eyes.

Tissue from his eyes have since helped to restore the sight of two people, and a man and woman have benefited from receiving Alan’s kidneys.

His daughter Gemma McLean, 29, said: “When we were told there was nothing more that the doctors could do for dad, they asked if we wanted to donate his organs.

“My first thought was that we didn’t know what he would have wanted.

“Then it turned out he had signed up for the organ donations register.

“Dad was always a really helpful, generous person and he would have loved to have known that he was able help others.

“It was a relief to know that we were carrying out his wishes.”

Alan, from the Stranton area of Hartlepool, was a mental health nurse and had worked in the NHS for 34 years.

Gemma added: “I’m partially sighted, and dad would be so pleased to know that he had helped someone like me have a better life and stopped them from losing their sight.”

Alan was given an award from the Order of St John in recognition of his organ donation.

Gemma accepted it on his behalf from the Duke of Gloucester at a ceremony.

“That was a lovely human touch and it made me feel even more proud of my dad,” she said.

Gemma is backing the NHS Blood and Transplant service’s key message of Organ Donation Week for family members to talk to each other about their wishes.

She added: “Speak to your family and let them know if you want to donate.

“I’ve always been an advocate for organ donation.

“Obviously we were devastated to lose my dad and we would rather have him with us, but someone else getting a phone call to say this could be the match you have been waiting for is something I see as a positive.

“When I think of someone on the waiting list and their journey, then for them to get that call saying it’s your time now – you can’t put it into words.”