Husband’s organs changed the lives of three people
A SOUTH Yorkshire mum has spoken out about the importance of organ donation after her late husband’s kidney transformed the life of a 14-year-old girl who had been tied to using a dialysis machine for years.
Julie Brearley, speaking on the anniversary of her husband Simon’s death, urged families to discuss organ donation with their loved ones - to ensure people aren’t left facing questions they can’t answer in the most traumatic of times.
The 43-year-old was sure that Simon - who suffered a catastrophic brain haemorrhage - wanted to donate any organs of use, meaning the preparations for transplant could begin at Barnsley Hospital soon after the devastating news was broken to them.
Since then Julie and her family - which includes son Jordan, aged 18, daughter Bethany, 14, and Nathan, Simon’s son from a previous relationship - have received updates on the grateful recipients of his precious organs.
Julie, from Barnsley, said: “Simon had always said, ‘When we leave here, that’s that’.
“He told me to donate his body to medical science, so when the staff sensitively asked about organ donation I knew what to say - I knew what he wanted.
“One of his kidneys went to a 14-year-old who had been hooked up to dialysis since she was a little girl. She has always got in touch each year on the anniversary to let us know how she is getting on - we know she got all these As in her exams and now she is at university studying science which is wonderful.
“The other went to a guy who we have just heard is expecting a baby with his partner, and his liver went to a father-of-five.
“I know Simon would think it is absolutely brilliant and it’s a comfort for us too - knowing how much good is being done in his memory.”
Julie, who works as an administrator at the Education Centre in Barnsley Hospital - co-ordinating training and study leave for the hospital’s junior doctors - said the anniversary was always an emotional occasion and the events of that traumatic evening when he collapsed at home would always be “vivid in her mind”.
Simon had suffered a previous bleed on his brain 11 years before, but was finally getting his life back on track - returning to work, beating the depression that had blighted him, and learning to control the epilepsy it had left him with.
But Julie had to call for an ambulance when he returned home from work one evening in 2005 and collapsed on the landing.
He was rushed to Barnsley Hospital for treatment, where the care and support of the staff was so impressive that this too has remained stamped on her mind to this day.
She said: “It was a horrendous time. Of course I will never forget it.
“But I will also never forget how supportive the people who work at the hospital were - and they’re still lovely now.”