Woman with liver disease appeals for organ donors

Gemma Clark has already registered 25 new organ donors from the Seabreeze Club in Hemsby. Picture: G

Gemma Clark has already registered 25 new organ donors from the Seabreeze Club in Hemsby. Picture: Gemma Clark - Credit: Archant

A woman from Scratby with a rare liver disease is campaigning for more people to become organ donors.

Gemma Clark, 30, was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) when she was 21 and is likely to need a liver transplant in the future.

While the liver is one of the only organs that can regenerate, PSC can cause scarring from which the liver can’t recover.

Keen to help people on waiting lists get organs they need, Miss Clark has used her position as a barmaid at the Seabreeze Club in Hemsby as a platform to encourage people to register as donors.

With the support of owner, Jeremy Bensley, Miss Clark has spread the word at the pub, using t-shirts, posters and key rings to get people talking about organ donation.

So far, Miss Clark has received registration forms from 25 people, with more committing to sign up online.

She said: “Seeing the sheer amount of people literally dying because they are unable to get a liver transplant has made me really passionate about telling people how signing a simple but of paper can help change so many lives.

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“Last year 875 people became too ill to have a transplant and were taken off the list, and a further 457 died while on the list.

“There’s just not enough organs out there being donated, which is crazy because there are enough people dying in a position to donate their organs.”

Miss Clark said most people just do not think about registering, while those with doubts are soon converted after seeing the difference organ donation can make.

She said: “There’s a lady at the club who donated her son’s organs and she said that even after all these years she’s not sure that she made the right choice.

“I contacted a few people on a Facebook support group and they messaged her telling her what a difference it had made to them and their relatives. She was crying when she read them and finally knew she had made the right choice.

“With just one person’s organs you can save seven lives and with connective tissues you can help change even more lives.”

To register as an organ donor, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk