A MOTORCYCLIST who died in a crash on the A32 has helped strengthen the lives of five people thanks to his organ donation wishes.
Jack Burgess from Waterlooville was involved in a four-vehicle crash on June 29 which left him with severe brain damage and he died in hospital the following day.
The 22-year-old's family were told after the first CT scan that Jack would not survive.
But their sadness has been eased as they know Jack’s signing up to the organ donor list has helped five others.
The family gathered together when Jack was being prepared for surgery.
His sister Sophie, who works for the South Central Ambulance Service, said: ‘We realised that as we were saying our goodbyes, around the country other families were coming together because their loved one was getting another chance of life.
‘After the surgery, we were able to see Jack in the Chapel of Rest and you couldn’t tell he’d had been operated on. He looked like he was asleep and a normal, whole person which I hope might help other families in the future if they are anxious about seeing a loved one after donation.’
Jack’s heart went to a man in his 50s, his liver to a man in his 30s, his pancreas and one kidney to a man in his 30s, his other kidney to another man in his 30s, and his knee joint went to a cancer sufferer.
Other donations Jack made, such as his corneas, take time to be made ready for transplantation so the family will be contacted again in the future once those donations have been given to someone else.
Sophie added: ‘It’s been hard for my mum, his older brother, twin sister and I, grieving for Jack but without having the positivity of knowing how Jack helped others by being an organ donor, it would have been even harder.
‘My dad had passed away two years previously and at the time, we as a family had a conversation about our wishes after death. So we knew that Jack had signed up as an organ donor and we were the ones to bring it up with the team on the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit at Southampton where Jack was.
‘They put us in touch with the hospital’s organ donation team who were brilliant; there wasn’t any pressure on us, they answered all our questions and helped us through the paperwork.’
From spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in an excluded group.
Even after the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead.
Sophie, who spoke out during Organ Donation Week, added: ‘Before joining Scas, I worked on the Gastrointestinal and Hepatology Ward at Southampton which looks after patients with liver failure and kidney disease.
‘I’ve seen the struggle such people have just to stay alive so it’s nice to know that for some people like that, as well as others with life-limiting diseases and conditions, Jack’s death has meant their struggle is over.
‘I know it’s an amazing legacy that Jack would have been very happy with.’
Find out more and register your decision by visiting NHS Organ Donor Register organdonation.nhs.uk and share your decision with your family.