Stuart and Fraser Bates' organ donations 'the one positive'

Published
Image source, South Wales Police

A woman who donated her husband and son's organs after they were killed by a car has urged families to have conversations about donating.

Stuart Bates, 43, and Fraser, seven, died after being hit by a car in Talbot Green, Rhondda Cynon Taff, in 2015.

Wife and mother Anna-Louise Bates, from Cardiff, has since founded the organ donor support charity Believe.

She said "the one positive" she can take from their deaths is knowing their organs helped save other lives.

The pair were hit while crossing the A4119 at Talbot Green in December 2015.

Mr Bates died at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital shortly after the crash and Fraser, a pupil at Llysfaen Primary School in Cardiff, died at the Bristol Children's Hospital.

Driver Joshua Staples, 22, from Tonyrefail, was jailed over their deaths in July 2016.

Image source, South Wales Police
Image caption,
Mother and wife Anna-Louise Bates had described Mr Bates as "my Mr Wonderful" and Fraser as "our bear"

Mr Bates and Fraser died after the opt-out law was introduced in Wales - meaning adults are presumed to have consented to organ donation - but Mrs Bates she had "luckily" spoken to her husband before about his choice to donate.

"Unfortunately the majority of organs are donated through a traumatic experience.

"So when you are actually approached about donating, it's obviously a period of your time that you really, really don't want to think," Mrs Bates told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme.

"Luckily for me I'd had that conversation and this had actually happened five days after the opt out. What struck me was Stuey had opted in and I still had the decision to donate or not.

"That's why the conversation should happen before. I can honestly say that was the one moment in that 24 hour period of hell that I didn't have to think.

"I knew what they wanted me to do and that's why the conversation is key."

The organs of her son, who she nicknamed "Fraser Bear", went on to save the lives of four people.

Mrs Bates believes organ donation is still treated as "a taboo subject" and stressed "we need to be talking about it".

Image caption,
Anna-Louise Bates founded a charity in her husband and son's memory

She said relatives could be left in an extremely difficult position - having to discuss the likelihood of their loved one surviving and then discussing whether to donate their organs.

"That's why you need to know the decision of your loved one before because you aren't in that state," she said, adding she was "very fortunate" to have the support from her family, as well as friends who had also donated their son's organs.

"Without that level of support around me it's a very tricky situation," she added.

"But as I said, if me and Stuey hadn't had that conversation before, I don't know what I would have done and therefore I wouldn't have the positivity that I do now going forward for my daughter and I."