Organ donor law change is ‘great tribute’ to Exmouth mum Sarah Wright

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 May 2020

Steve Gazzard with a cake that marks the 600th organ donor sign up event that has resulted in over 6000 donor registrations. Ref exe 36 19TI 9273. Picture: Terry Ife

Steve Gazzard with a cake that marks the 600th organ donor sign up event that has resulted in over 6000 donor registrations. Ref exe 36 19TI 9273. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

A change to the organ donation law which came into effect on Wednesday (May 20) has been hailed as a ‘great tribute’ to an Exmouth mum who died while waiting for a transplant.

Sarah Wright was waiting for a double lung transplant when she died in 2012 and since then friends and family have been campaigning to have the law around organ donation altered.

As of Wednesday, adults in England will be considered to have agreed to donate their organs when they die unless they ‘opt out’ or are in one of the excluded groups.

Sarah’s father Steve Gazzard, who has been campaigning on her behalf, said it was a ‘great tribute’ to her.

He added: “When we started in 2012, we never thought we would make this difference to the law.”

The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act is being called ‘Max and Keira’s Law’ but Mr Gazzard said he is calling it ‘Sarah’s Law’ in tribute to his late daughter.

He added: “It will make a difference to people who are waiting for a transplant.”

Before Sarah died, Mr Gazzard made three promises to her. He said he would continue to sign people up to the organ donor register, fight for a change in the law and he set up a lung disease research programme in her name.

The organ donor sign ups came to an end in March with 652 events held and more than 6,600 new organ donors registered.

Now Mr Gazzard’s focus has now turned to lung disease research being done at Royal Brompton Hospital where Sarah was treated.

The research, being done in partnership with the British Lung Foundation, requires around £4,000 in funding each year.

With the help of his ‘merry band of helpers’, Mr Gazzard has raised £3,960 in 2019.

The main source of funds each year has been the transplant awareness event held in The Strand each summer, which has become a fixture in the Exmouth calendar.

Due to coronavirus, this year’s event has had to be cancelled but Mr Gazzard is hopeful of rearranging it for later in the year.


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