Organ donor champion Steve gets his hands on new law after seven year campaign
PUBLISHED: 09:57 16 July 2019
An Exmouth dad has held in his hands a copy of the organ donation law for which he has lobbied since his daughter died seven years ago.
Steve Gazzard was presented with a paper version of the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 which comes into force in March next year.
He has been campaigning for a change in the law since his daughter died in 2012 while waiting for a double lung transplant.
The new law will mean anyone who dies will be considered to have given their permission for their organs to be donated unless they opt out prior to death. Earlier this year, the bill gained Royal assent meaning it has now become part of an act of parliament.
Cllr Gazzard, who is also Exmouth's mayor, said: "It has been a long and hard campaign but has been well worth it, and an amazing tribute to my late daughter Sarah. I promised Sarah that I would do all my very best to campaign for a change and we all have helped to achieve this."
Fellow town and district councillor Paul Millar, who worked on the bill in his role as a researcher in Westminster, presented it to Cllr Gazzard.
He said: "I didn't know Steve or the story about his daughter while I was leading the campaign to get the bill passed in Parliament.
"I shed a tear when I read about Sarah's story in the Journal and got in touch with Steve immediately.
"Lives have already been saved in Wales where deemed consent has been in force for four years, while many hundreds of people are dying unnecessarily in England.
"Our campaign won't end until England becomes a world leader in organ donation like Spain.
"Without campaigners like Steve, we wouldn't have this law or so many sign-ups in East Devon. His bravery every day to talk publicly about Sarah inspires us all."
Cllr Gazzard has also been fundraising for the British Lung Foundation.
On Saturday, July 20, visit the annual Transplant Awareness Day event in The Strand from 11am.