Ely: 800 Gather To Say Thanks To Donors

More than 800 people are expected to attend a special thanksgiving ceremony today to honour the memories of organ donors.

The special service, will also celebrate the lives of transplant patients.

Guests at the ceremony include families from across the East who consented to donating their loved one's organs, and transplant recipients who had life-saving organ transplants at Papworth and Addenbrooke's Hospitals.

Angela Waterhouse, Specialist Nurse - Organ Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant told Heart: "This is the eighth ceremony of its' kind at Ely and we know it will be a very moving time for everyone involved. We hold this ceremony to show donor families how grateful we are for their generosity and selflessness at what is one of the most traumatic times in their lives.

At this service donor families will see how their decision to donate their loved one's organs will have transformed the live of someone waiting for a transplant.

It will also provide recipients with the opportunity to meet families whose brave choices enabled others like them to have a second chance at life."

Petra Shakeshaft from Cambridge will be lighting a candle at the ceremony. Petra's son James died when he was 23 years-old. Petra donated her son's organs and told Heart: "When we realised our son was going to die, it was understandably a very bleak time. We were approached about organ donation, and it was like a a light going on. Suddenly it seemed like something positive could come out of this awful tragedy.

I see organ donation as a gift that keeps on giving, not only to the recipients that receive the organ, but to the family that have lost their loved one as well.

Nothing will ever take the pain away of losing James, but for me, organ donation was an important part of the healing process."

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