An organ donation campaign launched in memory of a popular local rider is gaining momentum.
Sandra Harvey, 68, from Talgarth, fell while riding last month. She suffered multiple head injuries and her family took the brave decision to donate her organs which transformed the lives of five people.
Her story on internet forums and Facebook has been read by thousands of people and many have now signed up to become donors too.
Friend and campaigner Liz Rose said: “Sandra felt so strongly about helping others after her death and its given comfort to her family and friends. We were shocked to find out from doctors how few people are on the donor register and how many people’s lives could be saved by that one act.
“We know that Sandra would have been overjoyed that so many people have already signed up to the campaign, it’s an incredible tribute to an amazing woman.”
Sandra, a retired headmistress, had been joint master of the Brecon and Talybont Hunt for eight years. She fell from her horse on November 7, after it was startled by a quad on a quiet country lane near her home. Although she was wearing a riding helmet she suffered serious head injuries and died at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, 11 days later.
Liz said: “The donation of her liver, kidneys and corneas has transformed the lives of five people and their families. We can’t bring her back, but now she will live on through this final act of generosity.”
More than 200 people attended a memorial service at St Gwendoline’s Church, Talgarth, which ended with the poignant sound of the hunting horn calling `Gone to Ground.’
Riders from all over Britain have since read about Sandra and have signed up to become organ donors too. Statistics from the NHS show that three people a day die before they can have a transplant because there are simply not enough organs available. Ninety six per cent of us would accept a donated organ if we needed one, yet only 27 per cent have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register. Age isn’t a barrier to becoming an organ donor and people in their 70s and 80s have saved many lives.
Members of Facebook can join the campaign by typing in `Become an organ donor in memory of Sandra.’ You can register online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by phone 0300123 23 23. Alternatively forms are available at Pharmacies and GP Surgeries.