A brave Padiham man who has been waiting for a heart transplant for two years has made an emotional appeal for local people to sign up for organ donation, and potentially save someone’s life.
Patrick McCann (34) desperately wants more people to join the organ donor register, to help reduce the agonising wait for people like himself who are waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
Courageous Patrick, who appeared on television’s “Countdown” show, was born with Tricuspid Atresia, a heart condition where the tricuspid valve (a valve which helps pump blood around the lungs) doesn’t form properly, or is absent.
He said: “I have been waiting for a heart transplant since August 17th 2015. My journey to this point has had many ups and downs, like a lot of people in my position, or of those who have ever waited for a transplant.
“I was placed on the list in May 2015, then removed after two days to check liver results, which then took a further three stressful months to check and for me to be placed back on the list.”
Patrick went on to explain the emotional rollercoaster that life on an organ waiting list can be.
“I received my first call after five months on the list,” he added.
“It was a very emotional few hours, from receiving the call on a cold January afternoon I was then whisked by ambulance, with flashing lights all the way to Newcastle.
“The transplant coordinators seemed quite confident that the heart was going to be fine for me.
“I underwent several tests, over the space of a few hours, mainly checking blood and taking an x ray and being prepped for theatre, and chatting with the anaesthetist about what he planned to do.
“The transplant coordinators retuned at 1-30am, almost 12 hours after my initial call, to inform me that the transplant was not going to go ahead, as the heart wasn’t functioning strong enough.
“I was quite disappointed but in a way, equally relieved, as it had been a very long, tiring, emotional day.”
Now Patrick is making an impassioned plea to the people of Burnley and beyond to sign themselves up for organ donation.
Live Life Give Life is supporting the NHS Blood and Transplant’s campaign – “Let’s Talk About It” – in the hope that it will encourage and inspire people to give someone the chance of a new beginning by becoming an organ donor.
It is vital that everyone tells those closest to them of their wishes on the subject of organ donation.
This will make it easier for them to support their choices at the crucial moment.
Too many families faced with the possibility of donating a relative’s organs do not know what their loved ones wanted and find themselves having to make a decision on their behalf.
Patrick also revealed the emotional impact that waiting for a donation has had on him.
“I still spend a lot of time thinking a lot about my life, what 2016 had thrown at me, and how I should try to learn to enjoy my life more, through all the uncertainty of waiting for a call.
“So I’m now waiting for counselling at a local hospital, as I feel I have allowed the events of the last year or two to trouble me greatly.
“Some days I struggle to find the motivation to live my life and just find I concentrate too much on all the negative aspects of the past few months.
“I shall continue to try my best to live my life in the best way I can. Last year taught me to not take the whole ‘waiting’ thing so literally, which is what I have done since being on the list, always looking at my phone throughout the day, wondering if it has rang and that maybe I haven’t heard it.”
Sarah Jones, Trustee of the national organ donation charity, Live Life Give Life, said: “Have members of your family ever talked about what you would do if one of you needed a heart, liver, kidney or other organ transplant to liver?
“While most people support organ donation, many people don’t realise that their family’s support is needed for organ donation to go ahead.
“If you want to save lives, a few words can make an extraordinary difference. By taking just a few minutes to sign up, you could save up to nine lives after you’ve gone.
“Organ donation could affect anyone; it’s vital that people take the time to think about it and talk to their families about their wishes. That will save them a lot of angst at an already difficult time.”
You can sign the organ donor register online at www.livelifegivelife.org.uk or at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by phoning 0300 123 23 23.
For further information please visit www.livelifegivelife.org.uk.