It's a choice but please don't opt out says Camelon man who owes his life to organ donor
A man who had a life saving kidney transplant back in 2012 has now sadly developed terminal cancer but he is thankful for the extra years he was gifted and is urging people not to opt out of organ donation under the new system.
The move to the new opt out system of organ and tissue donation, which became law last Friday, means if people aged 16 and over have not recorded a decision about donation, they will be considered a possible donor if they die in circumstances in which they could donate.
Camelon's Martin Strang (49) was diagnosed with renal failure in 2008 and was on dialysis for four years – receiving treatment up to four times a week to stay alive.
Thankfully he had a kidney and pancreas transplant in 2012 and has been able to live as normal a life as he possibly can thanks to the vital donation of the organs.
Sadly Martin was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer – but he still counts his blessings the transplant he received gave him extra years he would not have otherwise had.
"Donating has always been a choice and it should remain a choice,” said Martin. “Now, even if you have not ticked a box saying you want to donate your organs it’s not the case doctors will just assume you wanted to give them – there will still be conversations with the family and loved ones.
“I was dismayed to read some comments on Facebook where people were saying its a case where doctors will just take the organs anyway – but they won’t do that without having a conversation with the family first.
"I mean, we recycle our Coke cans so why not our organs? It gave me another chance at life. One person can save up to seven people’s lives. My own view is if we are not willing to give organs we should not be willing to receive them.”
Remarkably upbeat about his recent cancer diagnoses, Martin, who went on to win medals in archery at the British Transplant Games following his own transplant, feels his life would not have been possible if not for his organ donor.
He has promised to dedicate whatever time he has to the memory of the donor, having become good friends with the man’s family over the years,
Before the new opt out system came into force, a national campaign highlighted everyone still has a choice – to be a donor or to opt out of donation – and how important it is for people to make their donation decision known.
People can record their decision to be a donor or to opt out on the NHS Organ Donor Register at any time. However, if people do nothing now the law has changee, it will be assumed they agree to donate.
There are an average of around 500 people waiting on an organ transplant at any one time, however, only around one per cent of people die in a way that makes organ donation possible.
Visit www.organdonationscotland.org or call 0300 303 2094 for more information.