Couple who lost daughter to meningitis reveal how a letter from organ recipient has eased their pain
Donating organs is one of the most selfless and altruistic acts a person can do - not least because there are often no rewards for those that commit to it. If you've chosen to donate parts of your own body after you die for instance, then you'll never know how grateful the recipient was that you saved their lives. You'll never have the satisfaction of knowing who you kept alive. But despite that, it doesn't stop people from making a profound sacrifice.
Teenager Joanna Yates was one such person. She died of meningitis in February, 2017, with her family by her side. Joanna was signed up to donate her organs to someone in need, and thus her remains were kept on life support after her death. Joanna's parents, Wendy and Ian, were left to mourn the young girl. But their spirits were soon lifted when they received a heartwarming letter from a woman in her 20s who's life Joanna's donation had helped save.
"We received a letter about two weeks ago, in an envelope inside another envelope, so we could open it when we were ready," stated Wendy. "My husband waited until I got home from work and we read it together. It was a really beautiful letter and it meant the world to us. It was from a young lady who received a double lung transplant, thanks to Joanna. When our daughter passed away, it meant so much that she had saved lives – bringing us some comfort. So, when we got the letter, it really brought that home and made it feel real – I was crying buckets."
She added: "Organ donation is so important – it has completely transformed this lady’s life. I keep thinking about the people who got the call to say their lives were about to change, after losing Joanna, and that does help us. Joanna was beautiful on the inside and the outside. She was a vegetarian, thoughtful and always made ethical choices, so we knew organ donation would have been what she wanted and, so far, she has helped to save four lives."
Joanna's donation will have potentially saved other lives as well: apparently her kidneys and pancreas were received by a woman in her 40s, who had been waiting for a year; while her second kidney went to a woman in her 60s, who had been waiting seven years. Finally her liver was donated to second patient in their 60s.
Although Wendy and Ian do not know the identity of these people, the two of them are now solid supporters of organ donation. "I often imagine them all, being at home, the phone ringing, them rushing to hospital and receiving one of Joanna’s organs," Wendy stated. "We all miss Joanna every single day. How could we not? She was wonderful, talented, musical, kind, loving." The family are now raising money for charity to protect other people from Meningitis; and you can donate to them here.