Thursday, 21 October 2021

Organ donor griven posthumous award

A WOMAN whose organs helped save the lives of six people has been honoured with a

A WOMAN whose organs helped save the lives of six people has been honoured with a posthumous award.

Juliet Lupton, of Foxes Walk, Charvil, died suddenly in February after suffering a stroke. She was 58.

Because she was a registered organ donor, several of her organs were used in lifesaving transplant operations.

Now she has been awarded the Order of St John Award for organ donation. Her husband Graham was presented with the award at a ceremony in Oxford.

The couple met while working in IT for accounting company Arthur Andersen in South Africa in the Eighties. They moved to Charvil in 1989 and were married two years later.

Mrs Lupton, who worked for Sonning Common sight loss charity Blindcare for 20 years, signed up as an organ donor soon after the wedding.

Mr Lupton, 60, a retired IT manager, said: “When we got married she sent her driving licence off so the surname could be changed and it came back with a card asking if she wanted to be an organ donor.

“At the time I asked why she was bothering and she said she wanted to do it because it was important but ‘let’s hope we never need it’.

“That was five years before she started working for the charity so it shows what a caring and giving person she was.”

Mrs Lupton collapsed suddenly at home on February 11 and was rushed to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where she died the next day. Doctors said the blood clot could have been on her brain since birth.

As Mrs Lupton had signed up as a donor more than 20 years previously, Mr Lupton was asked to decide which organs to donate.

He said: “At the time she signed up the rules were different so I had to make the decision.

“It was a traumatic afternoon but when I got home the next day I found her card in her handbag where it had been for 24 years. She had ticked all the same boxes as I had, so it was comforting in that respect.”

Mrs Lupton’s kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, corneas, skin, bone, tendons and pulmonary heart valves were all removed for transplants.

Several weeks later, Mr Lupton received a letter from NHS Blood and Transplant which said several organs had already been transplanted and helped save the lives of six people.

Mr Lupton said: “I’m very proud of her. Six people have had their lives saved or improved and that helped me get over the shock of losing her. It got me through the first few days.

“What happened to her is not what either of us wanted but this is what she wanted if it did. It’s what she had wanted when she filled out that card 24 years ago.”

Mr Lupton was invited to the ceremony at the Old Bodleian Library, where he received a certificate and pin badge from NHS Blood and Transplant. The award was presented by Councillor John Sanders, chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, and Rev Canon Glyn Evans, deputy lieutenant of  Oxfordshire.

He was among dozens of family members picking up awards on behalf of 10 donors, who between them had saved 32 lives.

Mr Lupton said: “The invitation came out of the blue but it was a very nice ceremony. There was the chance to speak to people from St John Ambulance and the transplant service and I was very proud.

“The big thing for me was that from the 32 lives saved, six of those were by Juliet, so it shows how healthy she was. It was an emotional night, I was so pleased and proud.”

Mrs Lupton was also honoured at the National Payroll Giving Excellence Awards where she was given the lifetime achievement award.

As well as her 20 years at Blindcare, Mrs Lupton was chairwoman of the Payroll Giving Special Interest Group, founder of its forerunner, the Charities Payroll Giving Network, and was also a fellow of the Institute of  Fundraising.

Mr Lupton said: “She was very active in the charity industry, promoting payroll giving and training and she was an advisor to the Government.

“The two awards came a couple of weeks apart, either side of what would have been our anniversary, so it got me over that hurdle.”

Mr Lupton said the awards had helped him understand the importance of organ donation.

“It shows how vital it is,” he said. “I showed the letter to people at Juliet’s funeral and a lot said they were going to sign up. That’s her legacy.”

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