Friday, October 12, 2012
A Withycombe father, whose daughter is suffering from a lung condition, has written to the Prime Minister calling for a change in the law on organ donations.
Steve Gazzard, a Liberal Democrat town and district councillor, wrote his letter as his daughter, mother of three Sarah Wright, has for the past 18 months been ill with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IBF).
The only cure for this illness is a double lung transplant, and Sarah has been on a transplant waiting list for the past 11 months.
Steve is calling for the law to be changed so that people have to opt-out of organ donation, rather than the current system where people have to opt-in.
He understands that while 90 per cent of the UK population agree with organ donation, only 29 per cent are signed up to the register, meaning organs go to waste.
As well as David Cameron, Steve has written to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and East Devon MP Hugo Swire, and Mr Swire has replied to say he will take the matter up with the Department of Health.
Steve said: “My daughter’s been in hospital since last week and is quite ill, so the urgency is there.
“It’s all I can do as a father. I can’t do anything else – I’m a bit impotent, but as I can’t make it better I’ve got to put the efforts in to get system changed so she stands a better chance.
“I lost my son Sean at age 26 with cancer, and I can’t imagine losing my daughter, so I’ve got to have something to do to try and be positive.
“It may not help my daughter but it may help somebody else later on if they do decide to change the rules.”
Sarah’s case has prompted a strong fundraising effort from Exmouth people for the British Lung Foundation over the past few weeks, with her 10-year-old son Harry leading the campaign.