Borderers have been urged to sign up to be organ donors this week, by a woman who is still alive because someone else did just that.
Ena Mitchell, of Henderland Farm in the Yarrow Valley, is trustee of the charity Liver Transplant Support UK, which seeks to raise awareness of the importance of becoming an organ donor, as well as providing emotional support and relevant information to pre and post liver transplant recipients, families, friends and carers.
Ena, 51, found out she needed a transplant three years ago, as she contracted primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).
“I was jaundiced, I slept a lot, as the PBC made me so tired I wasn’t really able to do anything.”
She was on the list for 50 difficult days.
She said: “Every time the phone went during that period, I thought, this might be it, and only when I least expected it, they called.
“The operation changed my life. My health is so much better, I have energy to do things.
“It has changed my outlook on life, it has helped me to concentrate on the things that matter, and that’s my health.”
But being an organ recipient has that flipside, in that you know someone had to die to make you better.
Ena said: “I know three things about my organ donor. I know she was female, she was Scottish and she was younger than me.
“And that is so sad. There’s not a day goes by that I do not think of the poor family who lost a loved one.
“If this person had not registered as a donor I never would have had the operation.”
And Ena, who kept in touch with her fellow organ recipients as she has to have her bloods checked in Edinburgh regularly, decided she wanted to give something back, so started up the charity.
She said: “Who better to highlight organ donation than an organ recipient?”
This week is Organ Donation Week.
To register as a donor, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate