People across Wales could be lifesavers, as one woman whose mum became an organ donor has witnessed first-hand.

NHS Blood and Transplant, which oversees organ donation in the UK, is calling on everyone in the country to add their name and decision to the NHS Organ Donor Register, and tell their family what they want.

Every organ donor can save up to nine lives after they die by giving their organs to patients waiting for a transplant.

Fifty-nine people in Wales became organ donors after their death in 2021/22, and 129 patients waiting for a transplant in Wales received a life-changing gift last year.

Charlotte Beckett knows the comfort organ donation can bring to donor families.

Her Mum Heather Beckett, 60, from Wrexham died and donated her organs to save the lives of others.

The Leader: Charlotte with her mum Heather on her graduationCharlotte with her mum Heather on her graduation (Image: NHS Blood and Transplant)

Charlotte received the Order of St John award for organ donation last year in recognition of her mum’s life-saving gift.

Charlotte said: “At the age of 60 Mum was as fit as a fiddle, she would walk and cycle every day, she could even do the splits! She however started suffering from asthma in later life which came as a big surprise as Mum had never been a smoker or a big drinker.

“Sadly, in October 2019 Mum suffered a bad asthma attack. My Dad managed to get her in the car and rush her to A&E but unfortunately during the five-minute car ride Mum suffered a cardiac arrest.

“Dad still got her to hospital and after 13 minutes the amazing doctors and nurses got her back breathing and although she was critically ill we thought we had her back. However, after what I can only explain as the worst week of our life we were told Mum would not recover as the trauma of the lack of oxygen had caused irreparable brain damage.”

Heather had been a carer and previously worked as an auxiliary nurse. The family knew she would have wanted to do an organ donation so all five of her sisters, as well as Charlotte, her dad and her brother, agreed.

The Leader: Heather Beckett Heather Beckett (Image: NHS Blood and Transplant)

Charlotte said: “The specialist organ donation nurses helped us as a family to have that very precious and final hour with my Mum. Ten of us including my gran and my Mum’s closest family sang her favourite songs and held her as she passed.

“A few weeks later on my brother’s 30th birthday we received the most amazing news and what we take as a sign from above, that Mum helped to save the lives of at least three people. Mum donated her liver, kidneys and heart valves which may even be able to help new-born babies, Mum loved babies.”

The family has since received letters from some of the recipients.

Charlotte said: “The letters helped give us confirmation that we did the right thing. We had never really spoken about organ donation with Mum, she hadn’t opted out but it was still a tough decision to make at the hardest time of our life. Agreeing to organ donation has meant something good has come from the most horrific day and it has helped in our healing process.

She added: “Mum was one of a kind, we were the best of friends and have taken great comfort as a family that just a little piece of such a special lady lives on and has helped give life to others.”

Thanks to incredible organ donors and their families thousands of lives are saved each year however around 7,000 people are still waiting for their transplant, including 228 people in Wales.


Everyone has a choice about whether they want to donate. You can register your decision (opt in or opt out) on the NHS Organ Donor Register. If you do not register a decision, it will be considered you have no objections to becoming a donor and your consent will be deemed.

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “You could be a lifesaver, which is an amazing legacy to leave – organ donation saves lives.

“Families will always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead and are more likely to support your decision if they know it is what you wanted.

“Please add your name and decision to the NHS Organ Donor Register to help save more lives. It takes just two minutes to sign up to be a lifesaver online.”