Last week was National Transplant Week. It’s an event that takes place every year, with the aim of raising awareness of the need for organ donors. And that need is dire. Every day three people will die waiting for a suitable donor to be found. The number of card-carrying donors is increasing, especially amongst young people, yet its still nowhere near enough to meet demand. You may have heard these statistics mentioned in the news, on daytime TV or social media. Or seen people in bright pink t-shirts shaking collection buckets in the high street. You might also have heard a personal story or two about how much difference transplants can make to individuals and their loved ones. It’s one of these stories I want to share today.
My latest book’ In Darkling Wood’ centres around Alice, whose younger brother Theo needs- and gets- a heart transplant. The story also features another older boy, Max, who Alice befriends. At the time, I named him Max because it suited his character. Only later did I realise what I’d subconsciously done. A couple of years earlier, my author friend Maria Farrer told me about her nephew who had just had a heart transplant. He was an otherwise normal teenager called Max. You can read the blog post I wrote for Tales of Yesterday on the subject here:http://talesofyesterday.co.uk/2015/09/guest-post-national-transplant-week-by-emma-carroll/
Max’s experience understandably had a huge impact on Maria and her family. Her newest book ‘A Flash of Blue’ is dedicated to her nephew, and in it she covers explores issues around organ transplants. It’s a beautiful, gripping teen read. Maria also wrote a very personal piece for The Guardian last week. You can read it in full here:http://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2015/sep/07/organ-donation-transplant-week-maria-farrer
Max’s story stayed with me to influence In Darkling Wood in more ways than one. I’ve always thought I’d want to be an organ donor, but since researching and writing about transplants I’ve fully realised the impact they have on people’s lives- both donor families and the recipients. So I’ve made my decision. If someone else gets the chance to live after my death, that’s got to be a good thing.