To mark Organ Donation week, which runs from Monday 5 to Sunday 11 September, local Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has been honoured for her continued work to raise public awareness and promote life-saving donation.
Organ donation charity the Northern Ireland Kidney Patients Association (NIKPA) has honoured the Upper Bann MLA for her ‘continued and tireless’ efforts to promote organ donation.
Alongside many local Organ Donation charities NIKPA supported Mrs Dobson throughout the entire campaign for her Private Members Bill, aimed at modernising our laws and saving lives.
NIKPA Chairman William Johnston, himself a kidney recipient, presented Mrs Dobson with a plaque at Stormont on behalf of the charity.
Mrs Dobson said: “I am truly humbled to be honoured in this way by a charity which has been so close to my heart for over 20 years.
“When Mark was going through some of the darkest days I remember my mum had been listening to a radio interview in which William Johnston was talking about the work of this fantastic charity.
“She suggested I contact William, which I did, and I am so glad to say that our association stretches back all those years.
“He waited 21 years for his transplant which he received three years ago and now, William is the Chairman of the charity which he was promoting - a magnificent achievement!
“William was the voice on the radio who brought hope to my family and indeed to countless other families across Northern Ireland - he still does. It is truly humbling for me to receive recognition in this way from a man who has touched the lives of so many kidney patients and their families.
“William and the army or organ donation volunteers are heroes in my eyes - they promote the power of life-saving transplants and with fifteen local people losing their lives each year while waiting on a life-saving organ their work is more essential now than ever.
“I will never ever forget the unwavering support provided to me by so many charities, members, volunteers and staff alike throughout the entire campaign to bring forward my Private Members Bill on Organ Donation.
“This recognition from NIKPA, coming as it does on Organ Donation Week, means so much to me and to Mark and we will cherish it forever.”