Tireless campaigner urges people to sign up to organ donation register

Theresa Sandeman-Charles

Theresa Sandeman-Charles - Credit: Archant

A CAMPAIGNER with two incurable lung diseases is making one last push to ensure her one-and-only bucket wish list comes true.

Teresa Sandeman-Charles, known as ‘T’, started the campaign Save5 three years ago after being diagnosed with the lung diseases – she is one of only a few people in the world to have idiopathic pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis.

The aim of Save5 is to get 10,000 people to register to the UK NHS Organ Donor Register. So far almost 6,000 have signed up but Mrs Sandeman-Charles is determined to reach her target.

She said: “Three people die every single day just waiting for a transplant because they are one organ short of life. I decided this could not continue. It shouldn’t happen. I had to do something about it and I had to start there and then.

“So I started Save5 and my one and only bucket wish is that before I die I get an extra 10,000 people registered on the UK NHS Organ Donor Register, because I know when that happens we could save or improve many more lives.

“I called it Save5 because if you were to be an actual donor you could save or improve five lives. What an amazing legacy that would be.”

Mrs Sandeman-Charles is being attacked by the two diseases on two fronts: one causes her lungs to lose the ability to move in and out, while the other means her lungs are fibrosing, meaning that breathing is becoming more and more difficult.

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A transplant is her only chance of survival.

The 52-year-old former cookery demonstrator, from Arkesden, added: “I am acutely aware that time is not on my side. Whilst I am on the transplant list there is absolutely no guarantee that I will get ‘the call’. I know I may be one of those three people who die each day. I have no control over that.

“But I am determined to die happy. I want to die with the biggest smile on my face and one way that will happen is if I know that 9,999 people and me – we actually did it – we reached our goal of 10,000 extra organ donor registrations.”

Mrs Sandeman-Charles has launched a three-minute video on her website in a bid to drum up interest. Click on the link at the top right of this story.