New Year, New Start for Will Pope

Natasha Isaac updates us on what’s next for the Will Power campaign following Will’s successful NYE transplant.

Over New Year the moment we had been waiting for finally arrived. Will Pope received a long-awaited heart transplant at Harefield Hospital.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the end of Will’s difficulties. On the 5th of January he went into cardiac arrest following an ECG (electrocardiogram). Thankfully the wonderful team at Harefield were able to bring him back, an arduous process which involved massaging his heart for half an hour.

Will’s family spent that day nervous and tense in the ‘Relatives Room’ at Harefield. The room is like any other in a hospital – calm, sterile, almost windowless and covered in inoffensive artwork. It’s a room nobody wants to spend a long time in, and hopefully Will’s family won’t be back there again any time soon.

Will is still recovering and it’s an uphill struggle. People often get the impression that he’s happily sitting in bed reading his texts and on Facebook with friends, but he’s still not up to even doing that.


Will’s mother, Rosie described it best. Imagine lying in bed with your eyes open not moving. Try lying like that for a month, unable to wiggle your own toes or ask questions about what’s happening to you, not being able to look out of the window or go to the toilet.

The transplant doesn’t mark the end of Will’s struggle but his bravery and resilience ensure he’ll power through any future obstacles. He knows he has everyone’s support, even if he can’t respond to all of your kind messages. Please keep sending them, as they really matter.

Aside from the strength and bravery shown by Will and his family it is important to remember his anonymous donor and their family. Not enough is said about their own fortitude and kindness. I hope their unimaginable generosity will in some small way be repaid as Will gradually recovers to lead a full and happy life once more.

Meanwhile, the Will Power campaign continues to grow from strength to strength. Over Christmas the Will Power Tree attracted much attention in the Arts and Social Sciences Library in Bristol and the Will Power website was set up at

Several important articles have been published in the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard, links to which can be found on the website.

Will and his family are so grateful to the students who’ve helped spread the word. When Will spoke to me through his tracheostomy valve a week before his transplant he couldn’t thank everyone enough. ‘It’s so important’ he repeated.

It is important to remember the campaign was not started to find Will a heart. Despite Will receiving his transplant there are still thousands of others awaiting vital transplants. This could all change if we continue to get people talking about organ donation with their friends and families.

It’s a difficult conversation to have so we’re looking to collect some conversation starters to help out. If you’ve got an idea post it underneath the article. Here’s one to start you off: if you have a transparent phone cover stick your organ donor card in the back of it – just displaying my card there has brought about several interesting conversations.

There’s yet another exciting way to get involved in the campaign – the Will Power Concert. On March 15th 2013 Will’s friends, family and campaign supporters will gather together to hear Bristol’s finest musicians (and sketch comedians!) perform to raise funds for organ donation charities.

If you’d like to be involved (performing, backstage or otherwise) get in touch via Facebook or Twitter. Details on tickets to follow.

Finally, if you haven’t already, please sign the organ donor register and tell your family. Click here, it takes 2 minutes.