When talented artist and musician Jane Dalton-Brown’s life was cut short at just 29 when she was hit by a lorry, her brother Lloyd had to make the heartrending decision about whether to donate her organs to help others.
After some soul searching he decided to give consent– a decision that helped five people who were desperately waiting for organs.
“When I got to the hospital she was in intensive care,” said Lloyd. “She looked fine. She had a bruise on her right shoulder and that was all. But she had obviously hit the lorry with her head and the road with her head. She suffered no other trauma to her body.”
This meant that fine arts graduate Jane, who was knocked down as she crossed a road in London back in 2000, was a ideal candidate for organ donation.
“I think someone was sending me a message to say: Have you thought about this?” said Lloyd.
“She had her whole life ahead of her. It seemed such a waste and I thought: If something good can come out of it, that would be really good.”
A 16-year-old girl received Jane’s liver, a woman with two young children was given a kidney, a man received the other kidney and another patient received Jane’s heart and lungs.
“I just think what a difference Jane has made to other people’s lives,” said Lloyd.
But the father-of-three from St Albans admits that he did wrestle with the decision to donate Jane’s organs.
“I did actually speak to all of her friends, almost every single one, and they said it was exactly what she would have wanted,” he said.
“I was very pleased to be unburdened by them saying that, because it was very difficult.”
That’s why Lloyd believes it is so important that people sign up to the Organ Donor Register and let their loved ones know their feelings and family members are not left to make the tough decision should the worst happen.
Lloyd said: “It is a really traumatic time, so I think people should make that decision themselves long before you get anywhere near A&E.
“When people have made that decision they need to tell their nearest and dearest. All my family know that about me. My kids know that’s what dad would want.”
Today, knowing the Jane’s death helped so many others go on to live full lives gives comfort to 52-year-old Lloyd.
“It makes me feel better,” said Lloyd. “Other people have got a really good life because of what she has given them.
“It just makes you realise how lucky you are to be here and how lucky the people are that Jane has helped.”
Lloyd helps promote the Organ Donor Register by giving talks and believes children should be taught at school about its importance.
He believes that if enough awareness is raised about the register then an ‘opt out’ system, which was recently voted for in Wales and already used elsewhere abroad, might not be required in England.
“My feeling is if we raise enough awareness about it we won’t need it anyway,” he said.