Widower at peace as late wife saves the lives of five others
PUBLISHED: 17:30 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:37 03 December 2019
A man whose wife died suddenly says he "couldn't bare the thought of her going completely", as he urges others to consider the benefits of organ donation.
118 people in Essex are facing Christmas on the waiting list for an organ transplant, joining more than 6,000 people across the UK hoping for a life-saving gift.
David McIntyre from Braintree, whose wife Barbara died back in 2012, believes that organ donation should be made compulsory as he knows first-hand the benefits it can bring.
Barbara, who worked at a medical centre in the town, collapsed after suffering a blood clot which caused her to become brain dead and rely on life support with no hope of recovery.
When Barbara died in hospital David was approached about donating his wife's organs to give others the chance of life.
"There was no argument," said David, now aged 72. "Barbara and I had discussed it and we always said we would donate."
At first David admits he was angry to be asked the question, because of the pain of losing his wife. But the decision has since given him a lot of comfort and helped him to grieve.
David, who married Barbara in 2000 after more than 10 years together, says he is proud of his wife and he knows she would be proud of him for allowing it to happen.
Barbara's organs have helped save the lives of five people - who at the time of donation were aged 14, 17, two men in their 30s and a 50-year-old.
One of the 30-year-old men has even been able to have his first holiday abroad because of the life-saving donation.
David said: "You cannot imagine what this means to me, it really is amazing and it gives me comfort.
"I guess I couldn't bare the thought of Barbara going completely, so it is nice to know she is still out there in some way."
Since Barbara's death, David says the "magic has gone from his life", and urges loved ones to talk about donating their organs to help save other people in the run-up to Christmas.
He added: "People must talk about organ donation so that their loved ones can be aware of their wishes.
"It gives me great comfort to know that Barbara has helped people continue their lives, she would be so proud."
Andre Simon, the director of transplantation at Harefield Hospital in London, added: "On the transplant unit we frequently see how a person's life can be completely transformed through the gift of organ donation.
"Discussing organ donation with families and loved ones could mean the difference between life and death for someone on the transplant waiting list."
From spring 2020 the law around organ donation is changing in England, and all adults will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate, known as 'opt out', or are in one of the groups not covered by the new organ donation law.