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Mum backs organ donor law change after transplant transformed daughter’s life

Alice Skinner and mum Nicola Frankland
Alice Skinner and mum Nicola Frankland

A change in the law to boost the number of life-saving organ donations has been welcomed by the mum of a Hartlepool teenager whose life was saved by a transplant.

Alice Skinner who turns 17 today waited four years to receive a kidney ten years ago.

Alice Skinner. Picture by FRANK REID

Alice Skinner. Picture by FRANK REID

Her mum Nicola Frankland says a change in the law currently going through Parliament known as Max’s Law would be “massive”.

It would require people to opt out to give their organs rather than in as they do now.

Nicola said: “It is a fantastic thing and hopefully there will be a lot more education to tell people exactly what it involves.

“We have been following the change in law on social media. I know there are a few more steps to get through. Obviously it is a massive thing.

Organ Donation saves lives

Organ Donation saves lives

“Alice waited four years from age three to seven for her kidney donation.

“It doesn’t sound long but it was a long time at the time.

“Some people are on the list for a lot longer than that.

“Some never get the chance unfortunately and their organ fails before one ever becomes available, so it is important.”

"Yes I donate" NHS organ donor card. Card in hand.

"Yes I donate" NHS organ donor card. Card in hand.

A bill which would require people to opt out of being an organ donor if passed its first important stage in Parliament last week.

The private members’ bill by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson passed its second reading.

It would bring England in line with Wales and Scotland.

The potential legislation is named after nine-year-old Max Law from Cheshire who received a heart transplant.

Alice was born without properly formed kidneys and spent years receiving dialysis while waiting for a kidney.

She also came close to death on several occasions and underwent many operations before and after her transplant.

But she left secondary school last year along with her friends and is now a student at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.

Nicola added: “Compared to the life she would have had if she had not had the transplant her life has changed completely.

“She is able to live to the full completely as she has proved by being at college with her friends of the same age.

“It really does make a difference.”

Nicola said people would still need to speak to their loved ones about it their wishes for organ donation even if the law changes.

“The most important thing is to educate people and that they need to talk about it.

“I think a lot of people are under false impressions about what it actually means.

“People think if they don’t opt out immediately then that’s it. It always has been and still will be down to the wishes of the family at the time.” It is believed the law change would save up to 500 more lives a year.

There are currently 6,296 people on the transplant waiting list including 148 children.

ALICE’S STORY

Alice received her donation almost ten years ago on April 4.

On April 7 this year she and her family are holding a charity night to support young people to take part in the Transplant Games which Alice has competed in several times since receiving her kidney.

It will take place at Hartlepool’s Old Boys’ Rugby Club, Easington Road, from 7.30pm and feature a race night.

Nicola said: “We wanted to mark the ten year anniversary while also remembering that for the family of the donor it is not happy occasion.

“Alice has got such a lot out of going to the transplant games we thought it would be appropriate to try to encourage new children to take part.

“However, it does cost money and the money we raise will go towards helping them with that.”

Tickets for the night are £6 each and it will include a pie and peas supper.

Contact Nicola on 07759 111853.