Organ donors: Nigel Challenger's case 'should encourage others'

Organ donor registration The Welsh government intends introducing presumed consent laws by 2015

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The case of a south Wales man whose organs saved lives after his death from a brain tumour has been highlighted to encourage others to become donors.

Nigel Challenger's donations are said to have kept two people alive and helped four others.

The NHS Blood and Transplant service (NHSBT) is urging people to make a new year pledge to help the 7,500 on transplant waiting lists.

The Welsh government plans presumed consent organ donation laws by 2015.

Currently people in Wales have to opt to join the NHS organ donor register if they want to donate their organs and tissues after death.

But under the Welsh government's proposals, people will have to opt out if they do not want their organs used.

The NHSBT has cited the example of Mr Challenger as part of its efforts to increase donations.

It said that 60% of people who support organ donation have not signed up to become a donor.

Start Quote

He used to think it was such a waste for organs to die and go unused”

End Quote Joanne Challenger On her late husband Nigel

Mr Challenger, of Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, died in 2003 and his widow Joanne said that the donation of his organs was a comfort.

"Nigel was a fantastic father who was always happy and willing to help anybody," she said.

"We'd talked about donation, I knew it was what he wanted.

"He used to think it was such a waste for organs to die and go unused."

Mrs Challenger said: "It means a lot to know Nigel's organs gave these people hope. Our children thought he was a hero for helping so many people.

'Lot of comfort'

"Looking back, I got a lot of comfort from knowing that two lives had been saved. It was also comforting to know that I was carrying out his wishes."

Lynda Hamlyn, the NHSBT chief executive said: "Our core purpose is to save and improve patients' lives and we would like to see more of those waiting for transplants, receiving the organs they need.

"Research revealed that over 90% of people support organ donation, and yet only 30% of the population have signed up to the organ donation register."

The Welsh government's presumed consent proposals have been criticised, with the Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, saying people's organs should be donated as a gift and not as an "asset of the state."

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