South Yorkshire mum on transplant list issues plea for more donors

Michaela Fenton is waiting for a liver transplant
Michaela Fenton is waiting for a liver transplant
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A South Yorkshire mum on the transplant list as she waits for a new liver has urged more people to sign up to give the gift of life.

Michaela Fenton, aged 47, is among 6,400 people currently waiting for a new organ to save their lives.

Michaela Fenton with daughters Mollie and Lola

Michaela Fenton with daughters Mollie and Lola

The mum-of-two, originally from Sheffield but who now lives in Wickersley, Rotherham, only discovered her liver was failing when she went for a routine medical as she was preparing to emigrate to New Zealand with her husband Jonnie and their two children, Mollie and Lola in 2010.

With Lola just 12 weeks old at the time and Mollie, three-and-a-half, Michaela had put her tiredness down to being a busy mum.

But tests revealed that she was suffering from auto immune hepatitis and fibrosis, which has now developed into cirrhosis of the liver, with a transplant her only chance of a healthy life.

She currently survives on a cocktail of 21 tablets, with life a daily struggle.

Michaela Fenton with husband Jonnie after he raised completed a half marathon to raise money for a liver unit

Michaela Fenton with husband Jonnie after he raised completed a half marathon to raise money for a liver unit

Yesterday, it was revealed that transplants have saved 945 lives in South Yorkshire since the operations began, and nationally 50,000 have been carried out.

In South Yorkshire, the number of people on the organ donor register has increased by 25 per cent over the past five years, with 415,082 people listed compared to 331,246 in 2012.

Nationally, there are 23.6 million people on the register - 36 per cent of the UK’s population.

New figures show there are 170,968 people on the register in Sheffield, 77,532 in Rotherham, 88,806 in Doncaster and 75,168 in Barnsley.

Last year 84 people in South Yorkshire had transplants, compared to 64 five years ago.

Michaela said she is desperate to feel healthy again and urged people to sign up to the organ donor register to give others the chance of life.

"If I had not gone for the medical as part of the emigration process chances are I wouldn't be here today, so it is probably the best thing we ever did," she said.

"I was always on the organ donor register myself before I became ill and now I need someone to help me.

"It is difficult as you are waiting for a live donor, which is rare, as you know that chances are that if an organ becomes available it will be from someone who has passed away.

"It makes me feel really sad that someone is going to have to die for me to be able to carry on living but in my heart I know caring people put their names on the register and saving a life is what those people will want.

"Registering to become an organ donor is giving people like me, who have not asked to be poorly, a second chance at life with our families and friends."

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “More people than ever in South Yorkshire are committing to organ donation and that is saving more lives than ever. It’s amazing to picture all the people now alive today thanks to organ donation and think of all the families and children who have grown up thanks to donors.

“We’re seeing more and more people committing to donation and the good results of our close work with hospitals. Our specialist nurses in organ donation are now almost always involved in discussions with families over organ donation.

“However there is still a long way to go. Around three people still die a day in need of a transplant. Every one of those people who died could be a mother or a father, a daughter or a son, who might be alive today.

“Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process. We don’t want anyone in South Yorkshire to miss the opportunity to save lives through organ donation. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It only takes two minutes.”

Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk to register to become an organ donor.