Organ donor’s family tell of heartache

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THE family of an organ donor from St Helens who died in 2010 have told of their heartache that kidneys which she donated were later found to be cancerous.

Last week NHS bosses extended an “unreserved apology” to St Helens patient Gillian Smart, 46, who contracted cancer from one of the donor’s kidneys.

But the donor’s family, who did not want to be identified, have asked people to “spare a thought” for the donor and her family, who are still struggling to come to terms with their loss.

In a statement, they said: “On November 25, 2010, we lost a much-loved member of our family. She was only 50 and was a devoted wife, mother, daughter and sister who died with her family at her bedside.

“The consultants and surgeons had done so many tests and scans on her, but were baffled as to what was wrong. Tests came back without a diagnosis and no answers were found.

“We honoured her wishes to help others after her death and are so proud of her. The Intravascular B Cell Lymphoma could only be diagnosed post mortem, and we were told is extremely rare.

“The recipients of her kidneys may be disappointed and frightened at having cancer, but they are alive and in remission. At least they can be helped and medicated.

“We wish them well but ask that people please spare a thought for the donor and her family who are still struggling to come to terms with their loss.

“All we wanted was a few kind words and a thank you for giving someone a second chance at life.”