Can you help Eve find her donor family?

I’d like you to meet my old friend Eve. She’s awesome. We’ve known each other since our college days in the mid-1990s, when we were introduced by a mutual friend. We’ve had a lot of fun together over the years (usually involving loud music and much giggling!) and she has been a great support to me through some difficult times. Now it’s my turn to try and help her.

You see, for the last 26 years, Eve has only been alive thanks to one remarkable, selfless act on the part of a family of complete strangers. She had been seriously ill and needed a new heart and lungs – and, on 6th June 1988, a set of organs were found and transplanted, having been donated by the grieving family of a young boy who was tragically killed in an accident.

Twenty six years later, Eve is still with us, and, as a result of this family’s incredible generosity at such a terrible time, she’s lived a full and active life, as she describes on her blog:

I’ve been to university, I’ve travelled, I learned to drive, I have fallen in and out of love. I’ve had a career. I bought a house. I have a cat! None of this would have been possible without you, or without your lad.

Back in 1988, transplant patients in Britain were told very little about the person whose organs they had receieved and contact was not encouraged (things are, I believe, very different these days), but Eve would now very much like to say thank you to the unknown family who gave her another chance – despite having very little information to go on, as she writes:

‘Thank you’ is probably the biggest understatement of the century. You have no idea how ‘thank you’ really just does not cut it, until you have been there! However, I have wanted to write that letter for years, but I never really knew how to go about it, especially as so much time has passed. There aren’t just the emotional issues, but also practical things to consider; my donor family could have moved and the transplant co-ordinator may not be able to pass on the letter. What if my letter caused upset, instead of bringing comfort? The last thing I want to do is cause more distress to a family who made the ultimate gift-giving decision, but I know I have to do it. There is a mum and dad (maybe brothers or sisters) out there whose son is still here, 26 years later. With this in mind, I am attempting to make my gratitude known – maybe social media can help to make this happen.

And maybe it can. Which is where you come in. Can you help Eve say thank you to this amazing family? You’ll find all the information she knows about her donor family and the circumstances surrounding the transplant below. And due to the circumstances, there are a lot of ‘mights’ and ‘possiblys’ – but if anything at all strikes you as familiar or if you have any possible leads (or ideas for next steps), please get in touch.

  • The donor was a 10 year old boy from Reading in Berkshire, or the surrounding area.
  • He died as a result of a road accident of some kind.
  • He almost certainly died on Monday 6th June 1988, the day Eve received the transplant (organs are only usable for transplantation for a very brief period after the donor’s death).
  • The accident probably happened some time on Monday 6th June 1988 – due to the timing of Eve’s call into hospital (see her blog), it most likely happened in the afternoon and possibly on this young lad’s way home from school.
  • However, it is also entirely possible that the accident happened a week or so earlier and he spent the intervening time in hospital before passing away.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you or did you live in the Reading area? Does this sound like someone you knew? Do you know who this young lad was? Do you or did you know his family? Do you know someone who does or might?

A few days after Eve’s transplant, a woman was interviewed about organ transplants and the need for donors for a TV news report on the subject because she had sadly lost her young son several days earlier. Certain aspects of this interview make Eve suspect that this might possibly have been her donor’s mum. Here’s a partial description of this lady (which may not be 100% accurate):

  • She was somewhere between 30 and 45 years old.
  • She had what looked like dark, possibly brown, hair.
  • Her hair appeared to be fairly short, possibly in a jaw-length bob or a pixie cut.
  • She had a slim face and possibly a slim figure.

Could this be you? Or someone you know? Were you interviewed on TV about the need for more organ donors in early June 1988? Do you know someone who was? This may or may not be a clue to the family’s identity, but it’s worth a try…

I’ll finish up with Eve’s own words explaining exactly why she wants to say thank you to this family for their life-giving act of generosity:

If you are reading this, please know that your decision was the right one. I have lived a good life, with many friends and family. I am loved and I do love.

I am eternally grateful to you and your family; it was down to you that my mum and dad did not lose me. It was because of your son that I have lived my life. It is because of your son that I am looking forward to my 40th birthday, next year. He has run with me for the last 26 years at a steady rate of 90bpm. He has drawn in air for me, 16 times per minute, hour by hour, day by day. Firemen, nurses and doctors save people all the time, he has saved me one beat at a time, one drawing in of a breath at a time, for the last 26 years. It is an understatement that I call him a hero.

So, if you know anything at all that might help Eve identify this family (or even think you might), please get in touch.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for next steps, please get in touch.

You can leave a comment here – I moderate all incoming comments (which means they do not automatically appear on a post and are only published if/when I decide to publish them), so if you have any information and want to post it without it appearing in the comments section here, please do so and I will ensure it is not published. You can also contact me via Twitter.

Eve also moderates comments over at her blog, so you can leave a message there too if you have any information. You can find her on Twitter here.

Any information you provide here will be strictly confidential and only passed on to Eve.

Please note that no individuals will be approached unless they give their permission. Eve is very aware that even after 26 years this must still be a sensitive issue for those involved, and the family will not be bothered should they prefer not to be in contact.

Please feel free to reblog this post or tweet about it or share it on other social media – and help Eve say thank you.


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