Andrew Takes to the Sky In September 2017, Andrew received a heart transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital. After recovering and getting stronger, Andrew signed up to participate in a skydive to support Royal Papworth Charity. I wanted to thank my donor, who I was told was a lady in her early 40’s. I was determined that her very precious gift was not to be wasted. Joining a skydive, I thought, was a great way to show my appreciation for her gift and raise awareness for organ donation. This year, since April 2019, 2730 people have received a transplant, but unfortunately, we cannot keep up with the demands. In the UK alone, there are currently 6176 people who are waiting for a transplant. “Maybe a skydive was a bit extreme. My husband and family thought I was a bit crazy and they were shocked by my decision. They fully supportive of my fundraising ideas but suggested that if I wanted to fundraise then why not do something a bit calmer, such as a charity walk?” “But it felt right and symbolic of my new beginning, jumping from all the troubles with my health, thanks to her gift. I just wanted to make sure she was never forgotten or underappreciated! It was such a freeing and exhilarating experience. And after the jump my husband saw how happy I was and it was confirmation for him that my health was not as much a worry anymore.” “Everyone told me I was so brave but I always had trouble understanding that. I’m not brave. It is thanks to everyone else I’m still here…alive. I just sit there and others, who are more skilled than me, help me. I was asleep during the surgery when the skill of my surgeon and my generous donor saved my life. The skydive was a tandem jump, so the experienced instructor ensured that I was safe. I have just always trusted those who have looked after me…so I’m not brave. I’m just trusting and put faith in those who are skilled to do their job.” In 2020, the law surrounding organ donation will be changing in England; you will now have to ‘opt out’. This means that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. However, the most important thing about organ donation is to let your family and friends know about your decision. Did you know that fewer than half of families agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to be a donor? This rises to 9 out of 10 when the decision to be an organ donor is known. Thanks to Andrew’s hardwork, he managed to raise almost £2,000 for Royal Papworth Charity to help support patients and families whilst at Royal Papworth. He shares how he promoted his fundraising; “Social media is so powerful. Even if people can not donate, just encourage them to share! I ended up receiving donation from people I don’t know at all. Six degrees of separation. It was amazing to see the generosity of strangers.” “My husband works with trains, so he put up posters at train stations and in my department at work.” Now 2 years after his heart transplant, Andrew is feeling stronger and stronger. He has become a London Organ Donation ambassador and has returned to work as an IC nurse. “I help those post-transplant where my experience is valued and helpful to those going through a very similar experience. I feel useful and like my transplant and health journey had a larger purpose.” Andrew is not stopping at the skydive; he is currently training for the London Marathon and plans to climb Kilimanjaro in hour of his friend. We wish him the best of luck in his training and fundraising in the New Year!