A few weeks ago, I attended an author friend’s book launch. The party was for Maria Farrer’s second novel, A Flash Of Blue – which is brilliant, btw- and is dedicated to her nephew. The story deals with the sudden death of a young man through heart failure. By the novel’s end, our main character has met another young man, this one in dire need of a heart transplant. The subject is uncomfortably close to Maria’s own life: her teenage nephew was himself the recipient of a donor heart. His experience inspired her new book.
In a roundabout way, it also inspired mine. A year or so ago, I had lunch with Maria and she spoke about her nephew. Something of that conversation must have stayed with me, because my latest novel, In Darkling Wood, also deals with the topic of organ donation, and the impact it has on people’s lives.
Unlike Maria’s family, I – luckily- have had no first hand experience of heart transplants. When I started researching the subject, it amazed me just how much difference a transplant can make to someone with life-limiting disease. Often it is literally life or death. Yet, on average, 3 people a day die in need of a transplant. Other figures were equally sobering: 82% of people say they’d like to donate but only 50% have talked about it with their families. That number drops to 31% of relatives who’d go ahead with organ donation if they weren’t clear about their loved ones wishes.
It’s a difficult, complex subject. But talking to Maria, reading her book and writing mine really got me thinking. All I’m asking is that you do the same.
For more information, check out: organ donation.nhs.uk