Lancashire man on organ transplant list says it is time to start talking about donation
A LANCASHIRE man who is waiting for a kidney organ donor is urging people to start talking about the often controversial and difficult subject.
Faizan Awan from Blackburn, who was born with renal failure, is waiting for this third kidney donation and says he is not hopeful of finding a donor because of his community’s reluctance to come forward.
He said: “We need to start talking about organ donation, let’s get the conversation going amongst family, friends, work colleagues. It is such a taboo subject but we need to make it a normal conversation. It is up to the individual about whether they want to be an organ donor but they need to make the decision based on facts, not incorrect information,and make sure they make their loved ones aware of their decision.
Faizan had his first organ transplant aged 3 from an anonymous donor. When that failed at the age of 14, he was on dialysis for 18 months and in the Year 2000, he received a kidney from his father, who is still fit and well following the operation.
That kidney worked until Faizan was in his second year at university and sadly it started to fail again. He is now back on the organ transplant list and has been waiting for a kidney for the last two and a half years. The 33-year-old is managing his condition using nocturnal dialysis where he is hooked up the machine at night.
“When I had my transplant, I was able to live a normal life. I still had to take medication of course and had some side effects. Beforehand it was difficult particularly when I was at school as I was ill a lot and it was affected my schooling and my ability to have a normal social life to spend time with my friends.
“But now it feels like my life is just on hold. I can’t hold down a proper job as one week I am great and then next I am ill. People don’t realise how many young people are on the organ transplant list – it is not just older people. It can happen to anyone at any age.
“My third donation will be more complicated than the previous two and it will need to be a really good match – which means it needs to come from my own community. I am not hopeful I’m afraid as the Asian community has the lowest number of donors on the register.”
His mother Praveen Awan, who works at Blackburn Carers, said its affects the whole family too.
“All our lives are on hold at the moment – we don’t know what each day will bring. He is in and out of hospital and we haven’t had a single call about a possible donor since he has been on the list. It is very difficult to plan anything.
“I think it is very sad that many people aren’t thinking about organ donation. I know it’s a very emotive subject and no one wants to think about death but you could save a life, there is nothing nobler than that. I am very proud of how Faizan manages his condition – he does a lot for himself but he needs this transplant. “
Dr Pervez Muzaffar, GP from Darwen, said: “The common goal for any health professional is to save lives and help the patients in their illnesses. There are occasions when the patient needs an organ transplant, at present there are about 6,000 patient on transplant least and last year 400 patient died while on the waiting list. BME population has a longer waiting time because of the lack of donors and match.
"The majority of Islamic religious leaders accept organ donation during life and after death in order save lives. We must think and talk about organ donation to save more lives, improving the quality of the life of the patients and their families. Please consider to enrol on donor register to help to reduce the number of these preventable deaths.”
Watch Faizan’s story here - https://youtu.be/u_TCXwdzCDc
For more information, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk/