Thursday, 28 June 2007

The ultimate gift

Some heart-lifting news at last! Toddler Zoe Chambers today underwent heart transplant surgery. You may have seen or heard Zoe's story at the weekend, when doctors in Newcastle had her placed at the top of the European transplant waiting list, believing she only had a few weeks to live. Even being number one on the waiting list would not necessarily guarantee a match would turn up so soon (or at all), given Zoe's young age and specific needs.

It's truly heartening news and I do hope that baby Zoe recovers well from the operation and that her little body accepts her new heart. But, naturally, happiness for the Chambers family is matched only by grief for the anonymous parents of a small child who has passed away. And they found the courage and humanity to give Zoe another chance at life. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I admire you! I'm praying that your selfless decision to help Zoe, who you don't know and who possibly lives in a country far from yours, gives you some solace at this most difficult time.

These people are an example to us all. Organ donation would appear to be quite a taboo subject, with many people who are registered as donors failing to inform their next of kin about their choice. Ultimately, this can mean their wishes are not respected when something awful happens, as their surviving family refuse to give consent for organ donation. Whatever one's personal views on the matter, we all have a duty to respect the wishes of those we love. I truly hope none of you are ever faced with the decision ... but if you are, remember the chance you have of giving someone else a new life and new hope.

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