The Christmas List We Can't Forget

While people across the UK are looking forward to spending Christmas with their loved ones and exchanging gifts, 6,891 people on the waiting list for a donated organ will be hoping they will soon get the gift of a transplant. Sadly, not all of those waiting will get the transplant they need. Other people have had much better fortunes and will be able to celebrate Christmas looking ahead to a brighter future. 4,168 patients across the UK have received a transplant already this year thanks to the amazing decision of families agreeing to donate a loved one's organs, including Maxine, who waited for 15 months for her new liver.

Just two months after receiving her life-saving liver transplant, Maxine is kicking off this year's Christmas organ donation campaign on BBC Radio Somerset, along with Martin, who is a living donor: many of you will recall that he donated 60% of his liver to save his son's life.

You can hear them on BBC Somerset (Maxine from 1hr36m and Martin from 11m40s) and then later on ITV West Country news at 6pm. Maxine is also on the front page of the Western Daily Press.

The over-arching message we hear is that Maxine is indebted and forever grateful to her donor and their family for saving her life at the most difficult time in their lives. She is determined to go out there and live the best life she can, and today is no exception for Maxine. She regularly blogs and campaigns to raise the profile of organ donation, encouraging people to not only sign up to the organ donor register, but talk about that decision to familiy and friends.

Martin talks about the time when his son was on the waiting list and how he made the decision to be a living donor for a liver transplant to his son. Martin says the second most important message (after signing up) is to "Tell your family, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that come that awful situation where you lose your life, you are not there to tell them. So the family will be going through absolute hell... and it does help that decison making process if you've said your final wishes are that you want to donate your organs."

When asked what she would say to people who are unsure about organ donation, Maxine urges people to find out more from the organ donation website and ask themselves what they would want to happen should they or a loved one be in a situation where they needed a life-saving transplant.

You an get involved in spreading this message:  Download and print your own Christmas List here:

  •     Fill it in with two wishes supporting organ donation and a third fun one of your own
  •     Take a 'selfie' holding up your wishlist
  •     Share it on social media with #donationwish

For those with a little bit more time on their hands NHSBT have produced an organ donation bauble template just print it off and cut out and create your own bauble. Put it up on the tree at home and have a chat with your loved ones about your decision to be an organ donor. Good luck!

Above all, please encourage your own family and friends to remember those on the waiting list this Christmas time, and talk about organ donation. Sign up to the organ donor register today - its quick and easy (or update your details), and above all, talk about it with your family and friends. "What better gift at Christmas than a gift of life?" (Martin).

Follow Maxine and Martin on Twitter: @maxceline_ and @formerscopie