Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Save5 - an inspirational campaign to make a difference and save lives

This blog posting is unashamedly not about our French Gite, but about something much more important, about saving lives.

Here's a simple question for you; if you were seriously ill or dying and needed an organ transplant to save your life, then would you accept a transplant if one was offered to you?

What if the same situation occurred with a close family member, your parent, your wife or husband?

I'm sure most people would say that they'd accept the transplant for the chance to live a little longer.

The reason I ask is all because of the Save5 campaign to give everyone the chance to save 5 lives - despite 97% of the population saying they'd accept a transplant if they needed it, only 28% are currently on the organ donor register; this is a massive imbalance and Save5 is trying to change this situation.

Let me explain more.   Just before we went on holiday to France I was at my Rotary club meeting and the speaker that evening was 'T' Sandeman-Charles who told us her own personal inspirational story and how she has created the "Save 5 campaign".

T's story is quite amazing, from simple beginnings of becoming a legal secretary straight out of school, she then worked then for Thames TV and progressed her career up to working on some of the major shows of the 80's and 90's, and then she went on to form her own business selling Pampered Chef cookware, and over 7 years grew to a multi-million pound team turnover; and then last year she gave up the business and walked away, taking nothing out of it.

The reason for this dramatic about-turn is that T found out she was diagnosed with not one but two incurable lung diseases and one of them (idiopathic pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis) is so rare that only 7 other people in the world have been diagnosed with it. These diseases will eventually mean that the lungs will find it harder and harder to breath until she either lucky enough to receive a lung transplant, or she will die.

T decided not to dwell on her illness but instead to focus her considerable energies on making a positive difference and she set herself the goal of getting 10,000 more people to join the organ donor register before she dies.

Nobody wants to talk about dying but the amazing thing is that your kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and the small bowel can all be transplanted - literally saving the lives of 5 people. Tissue such as skin, bone, tendons, cartilage, heart valves and corneas can also be donated to help others such as in reconstructive surgery after an accident, heart valves can help children born with heart defects, skin grafts can help burn victims, and corneas can restore the sight of people that have suffered eye injury or disease.

Unfortunately many people put off joining the organ donor register, or if they have registered they don't keep their address details up to date when they move, and of course some people die in a way that means that their organs can't be used, so T's campaign to encourage 10,000 more people to join the register was I thought a fantastic personal mission that could literally change the lives of thousands and thousands of people.

For more details of T's life-changing campaign see her Save 5 website and please please do join up. It costs nothing but could make a real difference to someone else.

PS: Long standing readers of the Blog may remember my own personal account of my Mum dying from a massive stroke in May 2005. We gave our consent for her body to be used for organ donation and I think her corneas, liver, kidneys and heart were all used successfully to help other people. The people at the hospital and the transplant coordinator were very good and afterwards we were touched to receive letters from the families of those we had helped.

PPS: As at today T's Save5 campaign has resulted in an extra 2,748 people joining the organ donor register. Please do pass on details of the campaign and help to reach the 10,000 target.



  • A good cause. I've carried the card around for plenty of years but am concerned that my views can be countermanded by the Next of Kin.
    There is a need for our doctors and doctors-to-be to be able to practise their skills on real parts of human anatomy, how one can get into that 'no need for a funeral' donation system I have no idea.

    By Anonymous Lesley, at September 18, 2011  

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