Debbie Enever said that having had a conversation about donating organs with her son, Dan Robinson, “made things so much better” when she was faced with having to make a decision following his death.
She said Dan’s donation – which included giving his heart to a young child – was his chance to do “one last amazing thing” and described it as a “silver thread to grab hold of at a time when everything was falling down around me”.
Ms Enever has even become friends with the recipient of one of Dan’s kidneys, who said the donation has “totally changed” his life after being bedridden with chronic kidney disease.
She said: “When I had the conversation with Dan about organ donation he said, ‘it’s just obvious. If I’m dead I’m not going to need it, someone else can use it’. So, when I was faced with the decision I felt privileged I didn’t need to think about it.
“To know I was simply making his last wish a reality is an honour, and I knew I was doing the right thing by his wishes.”
She added: “Having had a conversation with Dan made things so much better when I needed to make the decision.
“Parents should have the light-hearted conversation with their children. It won’t matter if it doesn’t matter, but if it does matter it’s such a relief to know you’ve already got that information.”
Dan died at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in 2018 after suffering brain damage when he was knocked down in a road accident.
Ms Enever said: “It takes time for doctors to give up hope of survival, but as soon as they confirmed there was nothing more they could do, I knew that I needed to talk about organ donation.
“I wanted Dan to have the chance to do one last amazing thing. And I knew he’d have been 100 per cent behind that decision.”
She continued: “Dan’s donation was a silver thread to grab hold of at a time when everything was falling down around me.
“In the face of a horrific tragedy, something incredibly positive could occur. This would be Dan’s legacy.
“It was wonderful to find out, just a few weeks later, that Dan’s kind, big, beautiful heart had gone to a young child under the age of 10.”
Dan also donated his liver, while another patient was given his other kidney and pancreas.
Paul Neale, 53, from Rotherham, was due to start dialysis when he received Dan’s kidney.
He said: “It has totally changed my life. I’m much healthier now. I am just so grateful. I think the world of Dan, he’s our other son now.”
NHS Blood and Transplant and Sheffield Children’s Hospital are calling on people to talk to their families about organ donation.
Clare Croxall, specialist nurse for organ donation, said: “I really encourage everyone to have the conversation with their loved ones, at any age, so they are left certain if they ever need to make the decision for them.”