As a double kidney transplant patient who first suffered renal failure when she was just 16, Lilian Irvine is a vociferous advocate of organ donation.
And it was why Lilian, from Galashiels – who played a key role in establishing the kidney dialysis unit at Borders General Hospital so patients would no longer have to travel to Edinburgh for treatment – was more than happy to support efforts by Borders College students last week to highlight the importance of organ donation.
The NC Digital Media students held their Organ Donation Awareness Day at the college’s Galashiels campus on Thursday.
While it was a fun-packed event, complete with life-size “Operation” game, it flagged up a serious issue that got students talking.
Part of their promotion included a 90-second film made by the students themselves, with the help of professionals from the Fixers Project.
A total of 38 people signed up to the Organ Donation Register on the day, whilst many more were going to think more seriously about it and were going to talk to friends and family.
Lilian told The Southern it was a great effort by the students to help tackle a serious issue: “It was important to me to be involved today because I was the same age as many of these students when I was first taken ill – I was just 16.
“So I can really relate to them and, hopefully, they can relate to me. Seeing me now aged nearly 60, they can see that organ donation can give you a long and healthy life.
“It is a very worthwhile cause, but people must speak about it.”
She went on: “A lot of people think if they have signed up that’s it – that’s not true. You must speak to your next of kin about your wishes as the donor card is not a legally-binding document.”
One of the students behind the event, Robert Kirk, told us: “Today is about raising awareness of organ donation and getting people talking about it among friends and family, and getting them signing up for organ donation.
“Today is also about providing an easy and quick way to sign up, and so far the response has been really positive.”
To find out more, visit www.organdonationscotland.org