Jon Paul's family in plea for organ donors
JON Paul's family have made a plea for more people to become organ donors following his death.
Jill Oxley, Jon Paul's mum, said she would like to see a change in the law to an opt-out system, meaning that everyone would automatically be an organ donor unless they chose not to be.
Since being put on the waiting list for a life-saving double lung transplant in February 2011, Jon Paul had received five calls to say lungs had become available.
But each time he travelled by ambulance to the specialist Harefield Hospital transplant centre in Middlesex he was told the organs were not viable.
Mrs Oxley said: "The last phone call came about eight weeks ago. We got 14 miles outside the hospital before being called to say go home again as there had been a problem with the lungs. Jon Paul said to me that the sixth pair would be his time.
"It's been like sleeping on a tinderbox since he was put on the transplant list. Just waiting for the phone to ring. I think he'd want people to know what we've been through to encourage others to sign up. We want to encourage more people to become organ donors – it doesn't take much."
Jon Paul had offered to donate his heart valves, the only part of his body suitable for donation due to his illness, but his family have since been told they cannot be used because of the medication he was taking.
Mrs Oxley said: "He wanted to help others even when he had passed away. I honestly thought he would get a transplant; we all did, but we were realistic too. Hearing other people's stories gave us hope.
"It's a shame it's come to something like this to try and encourage people to donate and not take it with them. I'm making a plea to the people of Plymouth to register. I'm urging the government to make organ donation compulsory unless you actually opt out. Even if we save one person something good has come from Jon Paul's life."
Most of Jon Paul's family have signed up to become organ donors since he was put on a waiting list.
Jonathan Wickett, Jon Paul's uncle, said: "I think people find it hard to think about organ donation at a time of loss, but people need to think about how it can help someone else to live. It doesn't just help one person – it could help many.
"If people had been through what we'd been through they would change their minds. Because everyone has such busy lives organ donation isn't at the forefront of their minds. But if someone is rushed into hospital needing an urgent blood transfusion they expect to be able to get it without any problems – its' no different to giving an organ."