A HEART transplant survivor says words cannot stress how important it is to sign up as an organ donor.
Kaylee Davidson-Olley made medical history when, at just five months old, she became Britain’s youngest successful heart transplant baby.
Now aged 24, Kaylee, of Biddick Woods, Houghton, is backing a new initiative that has made it compulsory for people applying for driving licenses to answer the question about possible organ donation.
Applicants must either opt in or out of registering as an donor or their form will not be processed.
Although this question has always appeared, until now it answering it has been optional.
Kaylee, who is working at Marks and Spencer’s while studying maths said: “It needs to be done to save as many lives as possible. Without the gift of life, you’re dead – it’s as simple as that.”
If successful, the initiative could be extended to passport renewals.
It is hoped the change will double the 29 per cent of Britons already signed up to the Organ Donation Registry.
But the move had critics, including Wellingborough Tory MP Peter Bone.
He said: “What they are saying is, ‘We’re going to stop you getting something you’re entitled to and ask you about something which is not relevant at all to what you’re applying for.’
“They could extend this to when you apply for a passport or anything. It’s a back-door way of forcing people to decide whether they want to go into organ donation.
“If they’re going to do that, have an open debate about it and make it compulsory for everyone to decide. Don’t pick on motorists.”
However, Kaylee’s mum Carol Olley said: “We should do this as a nation and use this opportunity to answer that question.
“Organ donation affects everyone and we never know when it’s going to happen.
“Waiting for Kaylee’s heart transplant was the worst thing I’ve ever been through. As a parent I felt completely helpless.
“To the people who are against this move I’d say they’ve obviously never found themselves in that situation.
“You can’t take your organs with you to heaven and if they can save someone else’s life then what’s the harm?
“This is hardly forcing people into becoming organ donors because there is a ‘no’ option, but people should seriously think about what signing up could do for others.”
Kaylee added: “People really need to think about sitting down with their families and having this conversation, biting the bullet and signing up because it can and will save lives.”