Parents of West Yorkshire boy who saved six lives through organ donation support new 'Opt-out' law
The parents of a West Yorkshire boy who saved six lives following his death have supported the new 'Opt-out' law -
Lewis Hilton, 19, was fit and healthy before being struck down by the deadly infection in January 2018.
The condition of the teenager from Halifax - described as a 'wonderful son' by mum Tracy - rapidly deteriorated and by the time he arrived at the hospital near his home on January 26, he was unable to walk by himself or communicate.
Despite the best efforts of medics who "did everything they could," the infection overwhelmed Lewis' body. He died just two days later.
His mum, Tracy Hilton, said: "We are so very proud of him every day and organ donation, as well as helping to give other people a chance at a longer and healthier life, has helped us in some way to try and make sense of the senseless."
Among those saved by Lewis was a young lady in her 20s who received a kidney - and man in his 50s who received a kidney and pancreas.
A woman in her 50s received part of Lewis’ liver, while a baby boy only a few months old also received part of Lewis’ liver.
A man in his 50s also received a lifesaving heart transplant and a woman in her 30s received a double lung transplant through the incredible donation.
Just days before his death, Lewis had told his mother he wanted to be put on the organ donation register while applying for a replacement driving licence.
Tracy explained the donation process following Lewis' tragic death.
She said: "The consultant and nurses were emotional while informing us Lewis’ condition was very serious and I don’t really think I can remember much of the conversation after that.
"They took him for a scan and when they brought him back, they took us back into the relatives room and told us that the swelling of his brain was so bad that there was nothing they could do… we’d lost him.
“At the time we didn’t realise that one of the nurses in the room was a transplant co-ordinator, but we initiated the conversation about donation as we knew it would be what Lewis would want.
"It would also give us some comfort that this horrible disease hadn’t just taken our beautiful boy for no reason."
Tracy said Lewis had helped six people and their families to hopefully "not have to go through the loss" they suffer "every day".
She added: “Morley says that this must have been Lewis’ purpose, as he was such a kind, caring and loving person who touched so many people’s lives.
"We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, kindness and support from everyone, friends, family, Old Rishworthian’s rugby club since losing Lewis.
"To date £29,396 has been raised for Meningitis Now through Lewis’ Forever Fund by all these wonderful people.
"We will continue to help to raise awareness in Lewis’ name.
“When Lewis started with flu symptoms it never crossed our minds it could be meningitis, because we knew he’d had the vaccination for the ACWY strains.
"What we didn’t know was that there are other strains of meningitis and that we could have paid for Lewis to have the MenB vaccination.
"We continue to let as many people as possible know so they can make sure their children are protected.”
Most adults in England are now automatically considered organ donors, after a change in legislation which was brought about thanks to campaigning by a young boy who got a new heart from a nine-year-old girl who died after a car crash.
Max and Keira's law sees a shift to an opt-out system, whereby those aged 18 and over are deemed to have given consent to donate their own organs when they die, unless they explicitly state otherwise or are in an excluded group.
Now, Lewis' parents have told the Yorkshire Evening Post they support the new 'opt-out' law.
Tracy told the YEP: "We are delighted that over 18’s now have to opt out if they do not want to be a donor.
"We would also want to reach out to parents of children of any age who may sadly find themselves in the situation we were in and let them know that, although their hearts will forever be broken and life will never be the same again, they will find some small comfort in knowing that they may have prevented another family going through this nightmare.
"For us, when we knew nothing more could be done for our wonderful son, the decision was not difficult as we also knew it would be what he would have wanted."
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