Two St Albans and Harpenden women posthumously honoured in organ donation award ceremony
PUBLISHED: 13:21 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 13:21 18 November 2016
The partners of two women posthumously honoured for saving lives through organ donation are urging people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register.
Anne Rider, 54, of St Albans, and Sue Knight, 60, of Harpenden, died last year but saved more than 10 people’s lives after some of their vital organs were donated.
They were two of 35 people who have recently been posthumously honoured with the Order of St John award for organ donation, which is run in conjunction with NHS Blood and Transplant and given to their loved ones on their behalf.
Sue Knight was 60 when she suddenly died in October last year from an aneurism in her brain. She was rushed to Queen’s Hospital in Romford but could not be saved.
Following her death her liver was donated to a man in his 40s, a lung was donated to a man in his 50s, another man in his 50s received a kidney and pancreas, and a woman in her 60s received a kidney straight away.
Heart valves, eye tissue and skin tissue were later donated.
Her partner of 15 years John McMillan said: “Sue was an awesome donor. My brother titled her the ‘recycling queen’ and that’s a really nice way of putting it. She was always into her recycling, even when she’s not here.”
He went on: “She was wonderful. She wasn’t just pretty, she was beautiful, but inward and outwardly. She would put a smile on anyone’s face.”
Families attended a ceremony honouring their loved ones. John went with two of Sue’s friends, Linda and Jane.
John said: “It was very moving and each of the families were presented with a medal which says ‘add life, give hope’ on it.”
Anne Rider, a mother of three from Marshalswick, St Albans, died in July last year following surgery for a brain tumour.
She had signed up to the register some years before after discussing it with her husband Stephen Rider, who also signed up.
The NHS Blood and Transplant team told the family that one woman received a double lung transplant, a young man was given a heart, another man a kidney and pancreas, another man a liver and someone else a kidney.
Stephen said: “A few weeks ago, we received a letter via the NHS from the lady who had received the double lung transplant. She told us that she was celebrating her son’s ninth birthday that day and they had just had cake.
“It was not a day that she had expected to see and she wanted to say thank you. We do not know her name or anything about her. The letter meant a lot to us as a family.
“Anne would have been very moved and honoured to know that she had made that little boy’s birthday party such a special one for his mother and her family.”
Stephen urged others to sign up to the Organ Donor Register. He went on: “Losing a loved one is the most painful thing but we wanted to publicise the work of the NHS Blood and Transplant Team, and St Johns Ambulance, to encourage others to become organ donors.
“When we die we no longer need our organs but they can be used to give new life to many people who are suffering, and joy and hope to their families.”
The organ donor register can be found on www.organdonation.nhs.uk or you can ring on 0300 123 23 23.
Stephen added: “It takes two minutes but can last a lifetime.”