Team Lopez: It was a great privilege to meet with local mum, Lisa Wilson, to discuss her late son, Tom’s, campaign for organ donation.
Tragedy struck the Wilson family in December 2015 when Tom, a Hornchurch resident and former student at Coopers’ Company & Coborn school, died aged only 22, following a hockey training ground incident.
As the family considered organ donation, they were informed Tom signed up as a fresher at Nottingham Trent University, allowing him to selflessly donate his organs and tissue to help save and transform the lives of up to 50 people. His teammates who performed CPR helped save Tom’s organs enabling him to give the ultimate gift of life.
In 2019, Julia supported legislation which changed regulations on organ donation in England from 2020 onwards. Now, when an individual dies they are presumed to be opted-in and can donate their organs if they are: over 18, have not opted out and are not in an excluded group. This differs from the previous system in which individuals had to opt-in to be an organ donor whereas consent is now presumed.
To help encourage others to be organ donors, Lisa and the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund have joined with the Organ Donation Committee at the local hospital trust, BHRUT, to run a bus poster campaign on local routes throughout Havering to highlight the tremendous impact that Tom’s decision to be an organ donor has had on others. The campaign ran for three weeks including Organ Donation Week (18-24 September) and featured on busses operating from depots in Grays and Barking, including those serving routes: 248, 370, 252 & 165. Lisa Wilson and Janine La Rosa, Chief People Officer at BHRUT, are pictured above in front of the campaign at the Barking Go-Ahead Bus Depot.
While an ‘opt-out’ system is now employed in England, people are still encouraged to register their organ donation decision with the NHS and also to discuss their decision with loved ones – as family members will continue to be consulted if organ donation is a possibility. Though a different system applied at the time of Tom’s death, Tom’s parents bravely decided to support his own decision to be an organ donor which allowed him to go on to save and improve 50 lives, including Fatima and Gordon who feature within the recent campaign.
Through the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund, established in Tom’s honour, Lisa Wilson is campaigning to promote organ donation and raise funds for various donor organisations, concussion research and England Hockey related sporting charities. Recently Lisa attended the unveiling of an Organ Donation Memorial at the Royal London Hospital honouring those who have saved lives through organ donation, including Tom, and addressed the European Society for Organ Transplantation Congress in Athens. To learn more of the fund, its activities and to donate, visit: https://tomwilsonmemorialfund.co.uk/
For more information on organ donation, visit: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/
Commenting, Hornchurch & Upminster MP, Julia Lopez, said:
‘I remember being contacted by Lisa when changes to the organ donation system in England were being considered in Parliament and I was pleased when they passed with unanimous support across the house. Through their bravery and selflessness, both Tom and Lisa have shown how many lives can be changed by registering consent to be an organ donor. I hope that, through this campaign, others will be touched by Tom’s story.’
Commenting, Lisa Wilson, Trustee of the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund, said:
'I hope many residents in Havering and Barking have noticed Tom’s pink bus poster and as a result signed the organ donor register. Many thanks to all involved and the BHRHUT ODC for joining with the Tom Wilson Memorial Fund to promote organ donation and the gift of life. After all, Tom did….'