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A valuable gift that saves lives
9:00am Monday 25th February 2013 in News
EVERY time Stacie Pridden gets a phone call, she wonders whether it will be to tell her the new heart and lungs she desperately needs are available.
The 22-year-old, from Pinehurst, who has been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, is just one of more than 10,000 people in the UK who currently need a transplant.
Stacie has been on the transplant list for 10 months and doctors have warned she needs her new organs in the next year, before her health goes further downhill.
“The next year is critical. I will probably deteriorate a lot after that. The problem is we have run out of medical solutions to improve my quality of life,” said the part-time WH Smith retail assistant.
“I am positive. I have good days and bad days. On a bad day I can’t get out of bed and I just want the transplant to happen. On good days I can still go out and do things.
“Most of the people I know who are on the organ register are in their 20s. They are young people who, like me, have yet to live their life.
“I have my phone on me 24/7. During the first few months I was looking at my phone all the time waiting for a blocked number to ring. If I get a call from a blocked number that’s when you think ‘this is the call.’”
The NHS Organ Donation Register is a national, confidential list of people who are willing to become donors after their death.
It can be quickly accessed to see whether an individual has registered a willingness to be an organ donor.
Nearly everyone would take an organ if they needed one, but only 31 per cent of us have joined the Organ Donor Register.
“An opt-out system could help, but what I really want is just for people to talk about donating their organs,” said Stacie. “Even if you’re not going to sign up, just talk to your family members so that they don’t have to make the decision.
“Information about becoming a donor should be taught in secondary schools.
“I had a 14-year-old girl comment on my blog saying she had never even given it one minute’s thought. She talked to her parents after reading my blog and told them what she would like. I thought that was amazing.”
The Open University history student, who takes five different pills a day and uses a nebuliser every three to four hours, has a packed suitcase in her room at her parents’ house, ready for when she gets a call.
Stacie, who went to Wootton Bassett School (now Royal Wootton Bassett Academy) is hoping to go travelling, play tennis and become a teacher after her organ transplant.
She will have to take medication for the rest of her life to prevent rejection of the new organs.
Stacie has a twin sister called Megan, another sister called Candice. She also has two half-sisters and a half-brother.
To become a donor visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk/how_to_become_a_donor/