December 5 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
Two women are to receive posthumous awards in recognition of their life-saving organ donations.
Sally Bidwell, from Darsham, and Gillian Stokes, from Diss, will be honoured with the new award by the global healthcare charity the Order of St John and NHS Blood and Transplant.
The award will be presented by Their Royal Highnesses (TRH) the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester posthumously to the men and women whose deaths have saved lives and given hope.
When mother-of-two Mrs Bidwell, who ran the High Lodge Shooting School near Darsham with husband John, suffered a massive brain haemorrhage aged 63, her family were in no doubt she wanted her organs to be given to others needing a transplant.
Two years ago her organs saved and improved the lives of four people.
Her brother Tony Seago, who will receive the accolade, said he never got over losing her but was proud of all she had achieved.
Mr Seago, from Southwold, added: “It is absolutely vital that people make these difficult discussions with their loved ones while they are alive.
“My sister and I had spoken about organ donation and she said, quite candidly, that her body was of no use to her once she was gone and she would love it if someone else could benefit from it.
“She was a Suffolk girl through and through, with a heart of gold and not a bad word to say about anyone. It was absolutely fitting that in her passing, she could carry out one last act of kindness.”
When Mrs Bidwell fell ill, she had just returned from a trip to Europe with her husband.
She was later diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome which affects the nervous system and was admitted to hospital and underwent a blood transfusion before suffering a brain bleed.
Mr Seago, who now sits as a patient representative on the Organ Donation Committee at James Paget University Hospital, said: “Because we knew what Sally would have wanted, the issue of organ donation wasn’t an issue for us to get our heads around.”
Former teacher Gillian Stokes was enjoying her retirement with husband Peter, when she suffered a brain haemorrhage.
Mr Stokes said: “She died just before Christmas, six weeks after the birth of our first grandchild George, which had made her happier than I had ever seen her.”
Her organs were donated to at least four people including a 40-year-old man whose life was transformed by a new kidney and a 13-year-old who received a life-saving heart valve.
The awards will be presented by HRH the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester on September 18.
A spokesman for the Order of St John said: “This award has been created for two purposes – to say thank you to families whose loved ones have already donated and to inspire more people to follow in their footsteps and sign up to be an organ donor.