Daughter’s legacy lives on in others

Alison Geldard
Alison Geldard
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ALISON Geldard decided long before she died tragically of meningitis that she wanted her life to really mean something.

The 34-year-old from Sheffield had Down’s Syndrome and learning difficulties - but she knew exactly what being an organ donor would mean.

Her dad Alf, aged 71, told The Star: “About five years ago she saw a TV programme about organ donations.

“She told us she wanted to be a donor - we explained to her what that meant, that you had to die first - but she was so determined.

“So we helped her to get a donor card and, when she died last year, we carried out her wishes.”

Alison’s decision saved the lives of five people - helping her legacy to live on inside them.

One of Alison’s heart valves was used to save a six-day-old infant boy with a failing heart.

A woman in her 50s received part of Alison’s pancreas, and a woman in her 30s and a man in his 40s each have one of her kidneys.

Alison’s liver saved a woman in her mid-30s.

Alf said: “Her legacy is living on. It has helped us to know that, even though it was the most difficult thing we could ever be asked to do.

“I would really encourage other people to sign up to the register.”

Alison was the youngest of four children brought up by Alf and his wife Gloria, 72.

“She was such a magnetic personality,” said Alf.

“You would go to a party and she would always be the first up dancing.

“And, by the end of the night, she would know everyone in the room.

“She touched so many different people.”

Alison, of Eastcroft Drive, Westfield, died without warning from a deadly onset of meningitis last February.

“She was fine in the morning, and by midnight she was in a coma,” said Alf. “She passed away the next morning, which was Valentine’s Day.

“There were so many people at the funeral - everyone loved her.”

This week The Star has featured some of the 205 people in South Yorkshire who are currently living in limbo, waiting for a transplant.

Michael Blackett, 25, from Birdwell, Barnsley, desperately needs a double lung transplant.

And Craig Boden, 30, from Owlthorpe, needs a liver if he is to see his young daughter grow up.

They rely on people like Alison, people who are willing to sign the organ donor register and - just as importantly - tell their relatives their wishes.

Some 45 per cent of possible organ donations in Britain cannot go ahead because relatives refuse permission - and families often only later discover a donor card in a drawer, when it is too late.

Clare Jones, specialist organ donation nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Our message to people is to pass your wishes on - tell your relatives what you want.

“It’s very important that your family and friends know your wishes.”