Mother's donor plea after son's death

A MOTHER whose son led a full and exciting life for 16 years after a pioneering heart and lung transplant has urged people to become organ donors. Leigh Marven, of Braintree, was one of the first people to have the highly advanced operation when he was just 17 years old.

A MOTHER whose son led a full and exciting life for 16 years after a pioneering heart and lung transplant has urged people to become organ donors.

Leigh Marven, of Braintree, was one of the first people to have the highly advanced operation when he was just 17 years old.

He died last week, aged 34, after suffering from a form of bronchitis, but his mother, Cherrill Davey, said his life had been joyous and he had not wasted a single day.

Leigh went onto a waiting list for organs when he weighed just three-and-a-half stone but after a successful operation at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, his life was transformed.


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He then had the strength to cycle and ski and do the things people take for granted.

Mrs Davey, of Blackwater Way, Braintree, said she wanted people to look at what her son had achieved in the years following the transplant and realise what donors had the power to give.

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She said: "When he was eight weeks old, I was told to take him home and love him because he was not going to live long.

"After he had his operation he asked how long he had to live but the doctors told him it was to do with quality of life and that is what he had.

"Within two days of the transplant he had managed to walk some stairs and the nurses were in tears, clapping him.

"He had the operation to be normal and he was determined to do that. He went back to work nine weeks after."

Mrs Davey said her son, known to friends as 'Wolfie', enjoyed every day of his life since the transplant.

However, she said he had lived the right way and criticised ex-footballer George Best for his recent actions.

She said: "I think George Best has put a lot of people off donating because of what has happened since his transplant.

"Leigh had a fantastic life and enjoyed and enjoyed every day. If you can get other people to see what they can achieve by giving their child's organs it is important.

"My son had 16 fantastic years and really enjoyed them all rather than waste them."

She said the decision on whether to donate a loved one's body parts was made easier by knowing their wishes and added her son carried a card and had given tissue after his death.

"If someone is carrying a card, they have made the decision for you. If you are in shock you don't want to be making these choices," she added.

Leigh, who was not married, made remarkable progress after his transplant and would often talk to patients at Papworth, telling them that they had to work and battle hard to achieve what he had managed.

The HGV driver even managed more strenuous activities than most - entering the transplant games in Cardiff as a cyclist.

He also skied and had travelled in Europe and America and loved classic cars - an MG which he was repairing sits in his garage in Braintree.

Mrs Davey said her son, who had been a pupil at Great Bradford's School, Wethersfield School, and Stoke College in Clare, had a dry sense of humour and he never ever complained.

He became ill last November and his condition had been deteriorating, but he refused a life support machine as he got worse because he only wanted to live a normal life and not be dependent on medical support.

He was surrounded by his family, including his two brothers, James and Jason, when he died peacefully at Papworth Hospital last week.

All are welcome to attend a celebration of his life at Colchester Crematorium on February 10 at 12.30pm and the family has asked that people do not wear black clothing.

n The EADT has been running the Sign for Life campaign, urging people to sign the organ donor register.

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