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Story of Havering man focus of local organ donation bus campaign

Lisa Wilson ran a local organ donation bus campaign in September

The story of a 22-year-old man from Havering who’d registered as an organ donor before his death has featured on local buses as part of an organ donation campaign.

Tom Wilson, from Hornchurch, died in a hockey accident in December 2015. After registering to be a donor whilst studying at Nottingham Trent University, his organs and tissue went on to help 50 people.

Over the last month, his story and pictures have featured on the side and back of local buses as part of a campaign run by Tom’s mum, Lisa, to encourage others to register. The campaign coincided with Organ Donation Week from Monday, 18 September to Sunday, 24 September. Lisa is now an advocate for organ donation.

“I was very proud that in the local area, Havering, Barking, Romford all the way down to Redbridge that there were pictures of my son with his two recipients, on the back of the buses and on the sides.”

Tom Wilson had registered to be an organ donor before his death in 2015.

Lisa’s husband Graham died eight weeks after the death of her son. With her husbands wishes being to keep Tom’s legacy alive, she set up the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund.

“My campaign was to help people think about signing up because it does help. Obviously, you hope nothing will ever happen to you or your loved ones but accidents happen. Every sport carries risk, life carries risk so it’s just something which is good to have done and have under your belt and then you can forget about it.

Many people are unaware that despite registering, loved ones can still object to your decision about donation.

“It helps to register because obviously in our situation when we found out Tom had registered, we knew this was his wishes but it’s important you register and have a conversation with your loved ones.

“They think that because the law has change they’re opted in unless they have opted out but that’s not the case. They don’t realise as well that online when you actually sign up to the organ donor register, you can actually say what you want to donate and what you’d rather not donate.

The two recipients pictured on buses are Fatima, who received part of Tom’s liver when she was just two, and Gordon, who’s now 67, and received his heart.

“We found Tom helped save and improve the lives of up to 50 people because it’s organ and tissue donation. We learnt that his long bones could help people to walk again, there were heart valves that could be used or achilles tendons or skin for example.”

Further information about organ donation, can be found on the NHS website. You can also register to be an organ donor online

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