Ten year old Harry Wright has launched a fundraising campaign to help his mum, Sarah, who is urgently in need of a lung transplant. Harry is pictured with his mum, his grandad (Steve Gazzard), and siblings Billy and Marnie. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 8677-31-12AW
Saturday, November 17, 2012
The family of brave mum Sarah Wright, who lost her battle with lung disease while waiting for a transplant has vowed to carry on campaigning for an ‘opt in’ change to organ donation
Loving mum-of-three Sarah Wright, whose brave fight against a rare lung condition inspired hundreds to sign up as an organ donor, has died.
Sarah died aged just 37 on Friday, November 9, surrounded by her family after finally losing her two-year battle with the chronic lung condition Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
She had been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant for over a year, but a suitable donor could not be found.
But her family is now campaigning for more people to sign onto the NHS organ donor register and her dad Steve Gazzard says he is comforted that on the night she died her organs saved the lives of three people.
Sarah’s husband Richie said: “Sarah was the most loving, amazing, caring mother.
“We have had so many messages of support from so many, some she had never met. I just want to say thank you.”
Just two years ago Sarah, from Featherbed Lane, was a picture of health; a non-smoking light drinker who loved to dance and enjoyed keeping in shape.
But during a family holiday in Spain she developed a cough which doctors first thought was just a chest infection – but it did not go away.
Steve said: “Nobody knows why Sarah or so many young people contract the illness.”
Inspired by his mother’s plight, oldest son Harry, 10, a pupil at Withycombe CE School, organised a five-mile bike ride from Exmouth to Darts Farm during the summer to help the British Lung Foundation’s research.
Now the total stands at £5,203 following a 24-hour music marathon at the Bicton Inn, a sponsored swim and an auction at Franklins.
Steve said: “Sarah insisted on walking the five-mile route, no matter how long it took her.
“It was so difficult for her, but she was so mentally strong.
“It took her two-and-a-half days to recover; it took so much out of her.
“It was one of the last events she took part in.”
One of the last things Sarah did for her dad before she went into hospital was sign him up to Facebook.
He added: “It has really been comforting receiving so many messages, tributes and photos to see all the people she has inspired.”
He says he will press on with their campaign to convince the Government to change the law on organ donation.
Currently the UK has amongst the lowest transplant rates in the western world because Steve says is the policy of ‘opting in’ as a donor instead of people being automatically on the transplant list and having ‘opt out’.
Richie added: “I am determined to get as many people to sign onto the transplant register; it’s what Sarah would have wanted.”
In the Strand on November 24 there will be a special campaign day to encourage people to sign onto the register and call for the Government to change policy.
Her mum remembers a Sarah as ‘bubbly, friendly - who would do anything for anyone’.
She said: “She was a lovely person, and loved her animals, anything small, furry and cute. She had gerbils, rabbits and chinchillas.
“But she was also so strong and so determined. She used to say her aim was to go at 40, so she would have the maximum amount of time to get the transplant.
“She didn’t quite make it.
“But she stayed so positive right up until the end.”
Last Sunday, two days after her death, her family had a barbecue and Steve said: “She loved barbecues and last Sunday was a bright, sunny day.
“The children wrote messages on a Chinese lantern and at 6pm they let it go. I think it’s still up there somewhere. She will never be forgotten.”