Two people who gave the ultimate gift of life through organ donations have been honoured posthumously.
The Order of St John award for Organ Donation, run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant, was presented to the families of Yvonne Dixon, from Grantham, and Elaine Massen, from Hough on the Hill.
The award is presented to the families and loved ones of those who saved and improved lives through organ donation. The awards were presented by Andrew Clark, chair of the Lincolnshire County Priory Group of the Order of St John, in a ceremony held in Lincoln.
John Dixon and his family received the award on behalf of his wife Yvonne, and Clarry Massen and his daughters Emma Massen-Gill and Lucy Gill received the award on behalf of Clarry’s wife Elaine.
Mr Clark said: “Organ donation can clearly save lives and it is also vitally important to say thank you to the families whose loved ones have already donated their organs to assist others.
“With around three people dying every day due to the shortage of organs, these donors and their families have carried out an inspirational act to help others to live. We hope the example they have set will encourage many more to follow in their footsteps and agree to become an organ donor.”
Last year, between April 2013 and March 2014, saw the largest ever number of deceased organ donors as the families of 1,320 people in the UK agreed to donate their loved ones’ organs, leading to thousands of patients’ lives being saved or transformed.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We launched this award scheme last year and were overwhelmed by the pride and experiences shared by the hundreds of families who accepted the award on their loved one’s behalf. It never ceases to amaze me just how humble people are when you speak to them about having helped to save the lives of patients who were desperately ill. I have never spoken to a single person who has ever regretted their decision to donate.
“These families deserve this honour and recognition of their life-saving gifts. We hope their bravery will inspire others to talk about their own wishes with people close to them and record their intention to donate on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”
Families of last year’s 1,320 organ donors have all been invited to receive the award, displaying the words ‘add life, give hope’, at a regional ceremony or have the award sent to them privately.