"If you could see Ben and the difference his transplant has made to both his life and ours you would really see what a truly amazing gift this is."

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"A couple of weeks after Denise’s passing, I received a letter from the organ donation team informing me that five different lives had been saved from Denise’s organ donation."

"In July 2010 a nurse told me that a heart had become available. It was very surreal, I wasn't afraid; in fact I was overjoyed as I knew this was the only way I was going to survive."

Charity in Focus

The ‘organ donation family’ consists of many organisations and individuals who are passionate about sharing the message that organ donation saves and transforms lives, and helping to raise awareness of organ donation and the importance of signing the Organ Donor Register and sharing that decision with loved ones.

Local charities who promote organ donation as part of their work have been campaigning hard for many years. This is invaluable. The core work they deliver is also vital, from supporting patients and their families, through to research into the causes, prevention and possible cures for conditions.

On this page we shine a spotlight on the work of our organ donation charity partners.

Children’s Heartbeat Trust

Children’s Heartbeat Trust is a local charity that provides support to children, young people and families living with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) in Northern Ireland. CHD is the most common birth defect in the world, and over 200 babies are born with CHD here each year. A small number of the children we support will require heart transplants with organ donation offering their only hope of survival. We know it can be hard to talk about organ donation and children, however we need to have these difficult conversations so that in the tragic instance of a child passing away, another child might be given the gift of life.

Children’s Heartbeat Trust are proud to support over 500 heart families each year who access our support services. The impact of having a baby with a complex heart defect can be overwhelming and affects everyone in the family. To meet these needs we offer a wide range of emotional and practical supports for heart children and teens, their parents and siblings. We also fund clinical equipment, research, and advocate for the voice of heart families to be at the centre of all congenital cardiology services.

For some children a heart transplant is their only hope. It is particularly difficult to find a donor for children in need of a heart, with one of the main difficulties being that matches are largely curtailed by heart size. Consequently, young patients face a wait for urgent heart transplantation that is more than two and a half times that of an adult patient.

Alongside many other charity partners, Children’s Heartbeat Trust has campaigned in support of the introduction of a statutory opt-out system for organ donation, and to raise awareness of the children and families who desperately need a heart transplant in Northern Ireland. We have focused on the children and families behind the statistics and you can watch some of their stories here.

We would like to thank all those involved in successful transplantations, who have transformed the lives of some of our most vulnerable heart children and families. But most especially of all, we wish to thank the donors and their families who have gifted life in the most heart-breaking of personal circumstances. They too are our heart warriors.

To find out more about us and our work please follow us on:

Facebook: childrens.h.trust
Twitter: @Chldns_Hrtbeat
Instagram: childrensheartbeattrust
www.childrensheartbeattrust.org