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Organ donor Conner Marshall's story to be shown in schools

Conner Marshall saved the lives of three people. Credit: Family photo

The story of Conner Marshall, who died following an attack in 2015 will be shown as part of a learning pack on organ donation for schools across Wales.

Conner saved three people's lives from donating organs.

I think it's really important young people are listened to and given the opportunity to talk about organ donation at school and college. It's also important people talk to their loved ones about it so families are aware of their decision, should they find themselves in that incredibly difficult situation.

Conner was only 16 when he made his decision to be an organ donor and I am grateful we had talked about it and were aware of how strongly he felt about being a donor. He has given an incredible gift and we were able to do what Conner would have wanted by supporting his decision.

– Nadine Marshall, Conner's mum

Penyrheol Comprehensive are the first school to have the learning pack which contains a lesson plan, activities, short case study films and guidance for teachers.

It will help inform key stage 3 and 4 students about organ donation, encouraging them to discuss the subject with their friends and families.

The pack aims to encourage pupils to understand:

  • Explain how organ donation saves and improves lives
  • Explain some of the reasons why people decide to become organ and tissue donors;
  • Understand why it is important to join the NHS Organ Donor Register;
  • Understand how to talk to people about organ and tissue donation;
  • Understand what options about donating they must consider under the system in Wales;
  • Understand the decision to donate is their own, and the importance of sharing that decision.
Credit: PA images

In 2015, Wales was the first country in the UK to move to a soft opt-out system of consent to organ donation.

The latest statistics reveal a 72% consent rate and approximately 24.3 donors per million population, putting Wales at the top of the list in the UK.

39%
of the Welsh population have registered to opt in.
3.1
organs retrieved per donor in Wales in 2016-17.

If individuals don't tell their family of their decision to donate, the family may not honour that decision and over-ride the organ donor registration or not support deemed consent.

There have been 21 cases in Wales where families either overrode their relatives' decisions to donate organs, or didn't support the deemed consent.

PSE Coordinator Hayley Steel, who helped trial the learning tool at Penyrheol Comprehensive, says it will help break away from the stigma of organ donation:

The pupils responded so well to the activities; we shouldn't forget that young people have the capacity to understand and discuss these huge life questions. I believe it will benefit other schools across Wales, helping to break away from some of the stigma that surrounds discussing organ donation.

– Hayley Steel, PSE Coordinator