Organ donors from South Wales honoured for saving lives

Organ donors who have saved lives through the gift of organ donation have been posthumously honoured at a moving award in Cardiff.

The families received the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant for a decade, which was given to their families and loved ones on their behalf at a private award ceremony.

People honoured at the ceremony include :

 

Nicholas Bevan, 20 from Swansea. The award was accepted on his behalf by his family – Mum Caroline, Dad Mike and sisters Bethan and Ffion.

Nicky (Nicholas) Bevan

Caroline said “Our beautiful son Nicky was just starting his adult life age 20, when tragedy struck. Our world was rocked and our lives changed forever. Nicky was an incredible musician and the drummer of the Swansea based band, The Stray Pursuit. He was in the 2nd year of his engineering apprenticeship and should be celebrating his 21st birthday, alongside his graduation, in July this year. He is an adored son, cherished grandson, idolised big brother and a very special friend to so many.

“We didn’t really talk about organ donation, although we all knew each other’s values. My Dad donated his organs and tissues 14 years ago and we were so very proud of him for doing this. He also passed very suddenly but this organ donation talk had taken place  between him and my mum, as they were obviously a lot older than Nicky and we were so grateful to receive letters of how children had been helped from his tissue donation. So, as much as we didn’t have this chat with Nicky as we just didn’t ever expect anything like this to happen, we knew that this is definitely what Nicky would have wanted. His Bampa was his hero, and he was so proud of him. Nicky would have wanted to do the same.

“Nicky donated 5 organs and we know that 4 were used for organ donation. We received a letter ( in a letter ) letting us know  that Nicky’s heart, liver and both kidneys had saved 4 people’s lives. We often wonder how they are and hope they are doing well. I hope that one day we may receive a letter from them or maybe we even meet.

Nicky drumming

“The order of St John award ceremony in Cardiff was such an emotional day but one of the most important days of our lives. To see our sons name on that certificate just broke us, but also made us feel so proud of our boy for giving the biggest gift of all. There were staff at the ceremony who were actually with Nicky in ITU and came up to us after the service. They remembered us, they remembered Nicky, and they even remembered our names. That felt so special. They hugged us and chatted about our beautiful boy. They really are an incredible team. Every second of every day we wish we had our beautiful boy back, but to know he saved the lives of others is a huge comfort to us.”

Nicky’s family are pictured above receiving the award on his behalf

 

Michael Craig Morgan, 27, from Swansea. The award was accepted on his behalf by his mother Claire Mary Morrison.

Michael Craig Morgan

Claire said “When Michael passed his driving test we talked about Organ donation and from his point of view it was no question. He wanted to join the register and when we were asked about organ donation, we agreed without hesitation. Michael’s donation also encouraged all the family to join the register too.

“Michael helped eight people through his donation. His liver and both kidneys helped three people and his eye tissue has also helped help five people.

Michael’s family accepting the award

“Receiving the award on behalf of Michael was an honour and the ceremony was really lovely. He never won anything in his life but he was a kind generous happy boy who would give you his last penny. He always saw the good in people and always had a smile on his face. I am beyond proud of him and I will never tire of telling people that.”

 

Sian Platt, 62, from Cardiff. The award was accepted on her behalf by her daughters Sarah and Charlotte.

Sian Platt

Sarah said “Mum had talked to us about organ donation and we knew she agreed with it, and would want to help people if she could. Mum had a Biochemistry degree, and worked within the pharmaceutical industry for many years. She then went back to university to get her PGCE and taught access to nursing at Newport college so was always in support of advances within science, and also helping people.

“Through her donation Mum was able to help at least three people. She donated her kidneys and liver plus heart valves and tissues that will be saved until a suitable match is found.

“Receiving the order of St. John award on behalf of Mum was very special. The ceremony was moving, and highlighted the importance and significance of organ donation. It was really nice to speak with other families who had been through a similar journey as us at the ceremony, as well as meet with one of the nurses who helped to look after Mum in hospital.

Sian’s daughters Sarah and Charlotte accepted the award on her behalf

“Knowing how Mum felt about organ donation meant it was easy for us to honour her decision and agree for her organs to be donated. We are so proud of what she was able to do for other families, and how her spirit will live on within them.

Hundreds of families are receiving the award across the UK this year, at regional ceremonies or privately, as the awards celebrate their tenth year. More than 1,400 people donated their organs after their death in 2022, leading to more than 3,500 lifesaving transplants*.

Mick Messinger, Chancellor of the Priory of England and the Islands of the Order of St John, said: “It is a pleasure and privilege to work with NHS Blood and Transplant again on a tenth year of ceremonies to mark the wonderful gifts of life given by people who chose to donate organs and their families who supported them in this decision. These events are always very emotional and I pay tribute to all the families that attend and, most of all, to their loved ones who have selflessly helped others to live after their own passing.”

 

Organ donation is a most precious gift and it is important that people register their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register to save lives when they die. Only around 1% of people in the UK die in the circumstances to become an organ donor each year which is why as many people as possible need to join the register and make their decision clear.

 

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Organ donors and their families are truly inspirational people. Every donor transforms the lives of people they don’t know and the pride their families rightly feel is incredibly powerful.

“Patients who have received a transplant tell us that organ donors and their families are their heroes. The Order of St John awards, which we are proud to have been running with the Order of St John for ten years, are a chance for us all to recognise organ donors and their amazing contribution to society.

“We hope these awards will inspire other people in South Wales to decide they want to donate their organs and join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Saving the lives of others is an amazing legacy to leave and donor families say donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grief.

“We want to ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to donate their organs and save lives. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.”

 

The Order of St John Award for Organ Donation features the organ donation heart logo backed by the Maltese Cross – which is used by the Order of St John – above the words ‘add life, give hope’. The award can be received at a regional ceremony or sent to a family privately. They are open to people of all faiths or of no faith.

The Order of St John Award for Organ Donation first started being given to organ donors and received by their families and loved ones in 2013 and the tenth anniversary of the awards will be celebrated in the autumn.

For more information about organ donation, or to register your organ donation decision, please visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23. NHS app users can also use the service to record, check or update their organ donation decision.