Have A Heart

TILLY BENNETT-JONES reminds us that there is more to worry about this Valentine’s Day than our own hearts.

Cambridge donation donor list hearts illness Tab valentine's day waiting will pope

Valentine’s day: love it or loathe it, the 14th of February is a matter of moments away.

But before you run out and bleed Market Square dry of red roses and Kleenex tissues, there are far more pressing hearts to tend to. You may remember that  The Tab ran an article in November about the chronic shortage of organs in the UK. The article featured Will who, at that point, had been waiting for a heart transplant for more than eighty days. Despite being on the ‘urgent’ list, Will still had no heart and was deteriorating rapidly. Just before New Year’s Eve, Will finally received the news we had all been waiting for: a heart was available.

We can learn a valuable lesson from the struggles of people like Will

It has not been plain sailing since then, and Will is still very ill. But he is on the road to recovery. A couple of weeks ago, Will went outside and was able to breathe in fresh air for the first time in three months. Recently, he ate his first meal and went on his laptop for the first time in 2013. His latest biopsy shows ‘no sign of rejection.’

This Wednesday, ITV are running a follow up programme to ‘Waiting for a heart.’ The original show, which featured Will, highlighted the agonising process of waiting for a life-saving organ. At the time of broadcasting, time was running out for Will. Aged 20, he was having to come to terms with the fact that he might not survive this ordeal. No 20 year old should have to go through this. There are currently around 10,000 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant. Roughly 1 in 10 will die waiting. Will’s case shows, however, that something can be done. Nobody should die waiting. Statistically, one in three of you reading this article will not be registered as organ donors.

Still unsure whether to register? I cannot urge you enough to spare an hour of your evening this Wednesday to watch ‘Tonight’, which will be broadcast between 8-9pm on ITV. It will be followed by an hour of music and comedy, hosted by Dermot O’Leary, to raise awareness about organ donation.

If there’s one gift that will be guaranteed to make someone happy this Valentine’s day, it is this:


Signing up takes all of thirty seconds and could literally save someone’s life; after all, you can’t use your organs when you’re gone. So before you trudge off on your RAG blind date, spare a thought for all those other people who, come Valentine’s day, will still be waiting.

Go on, have a heart.