Family run business O’Donovan Waste Disposal is joining the campaign to encourage people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. The cause is very close to the company’s heart after the baby daughter of one of their employees, Lee Hayhow, was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disease that affects only 1 in 16,000 babies per year in the UK alone.
Three years ago today, 14th November, Amy Hayhow received a new liver thanks to an Organ Donor. She was just six months old when she underwent the complex operation following an agonising wait whilst her parents watched their baby getting weaker and weaker.
Lee and his wife Jade wanted to share their story in the hope of encouraging other to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Being an Organ Donor was never something that crossed my mind,” says Jade. “It didn’t really occur to me that people could die waiting for a transplant that was until we almost lost the most precious thing in our world; our daughter Amy.
“At just six weeks old Amy was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia. She went on to have a major operation called Kasai, a complex procedure to help clear the body of the damaging bile that builds up in the system and blood stream. Unfortunately her Kasai failed causing Amy to go into acute liver failure.
“At six months, old Amy was admitted to King’s College Hospital where she was placed on life support. Our world was crashing down and our first born was getting weaker and weaker. She was placed on dialysis and had blood transfusion after blood transfusion. Then on the 13th of November 2014 Amy was given less than 24 hours to live unless a suitable Donor could be found.
“Lee and I decided I should be tested to be Amy’s Donor but at the last minute we were told that they had found a Donor. At 8am on the 14th of November 2014 Amy was taken to theatre to have her transplant. The wait felt never ending but finally we got the call to say she was back in the ICU and we could go and see her.
“Amy spent a total of seven weeks in hospital with a few bumps along the way. Thanks to The Ronald McDonald House charity we were able to stay close to the hospital the whole time before eventually being able to take her home on Christmas Eve.
“Three years on and Amy is off her anti-rejection medication, her spleen has gone back to a normal size and she is doing amazingly well, it was a perfect Donor match for sure.
“Amy started Nursery this September and is loving it. She is smiley, chatty, happy and confidant little girl she has never let any of it get her down. Her bravery truly inspires us.
“We say thanks to our ‘Angel Donor’ and their family every day for giving us the most amazing gift any parent could wish for; a second chance with our daughter. The chance to see Amy grow up and become the woman that she is destined to be.
“If I could give advice to anyone it would be Sign the Donor register and make sure you have the conversation with your loved ones so they know your wishes are to be an Organ Donor.”
To register your details please see https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/register-your-details/
O’Donovan Waste Disposal is using today to promote awareness of the Organ Donor Register and raise money for two amazing charities – Child Liver Disease https://www.childliverdisease.org/form.aspx?ID=235 and The Ronald McDonald House charity http://www.rmhc.org.uk/our-houses/camberwell