Mum’s plea to help save lives
Jess Cooper takes comfort from knowing her two young children will grow up “knowing that their daddy is a real-life superhero who saved lives”.
Organ Donation Week has been running this week and Mrs Cooper is urging people to let their loved ones know what their wishes are.
The introduction of Max and Keira’s law in May means adults are considered to have given consent to become donors, unless they have opted out or their family decides it was not what they would have wanted.
Mrs Cooper’s husband Paul - who would have been 36 in August - fought for his life for eight days in Leeds General Infirmary after suffering severe brain damage in a freak car accident at Beckwithshaw, near Harrogate, in 2018.
When it came to withdrawing treatment and the subject of organ donation came up, she said “yes” immediately.
The pair met through mutual friends in 2010 - she was attracted by his “cheeky grin” - and they married five years later at Otley Parish Church.
Mrs Cooper, mother of Archie, seven, and Emilia, three, from Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, said: “He was a really caring person who would have done anything for anyone.
“Knowing how much he loved and idolised his children, if he could prolong it so someone could live longer and see their children grow up he would definitely have done it.”
Three people benefitted from organs donated by her husband - she only knows there were two women, one in her 30s and the other in her 50s, and a man in his 40s.
On the morning of his death, Mr Cooper, a mechanic, left home “so happy and full of laughter”.
Mrs Cooper said: “Paul was an amazing daddy, husband and friend. I always talk about him. It’s like he’s still here.”
Since he died, she and some of his “amazing” friends did a fundraiser to provide memory boxes for children who lose parents.
She said it felt good to be raising awareness of the families whose loved ones had made organ donations, adding: “I find great comfort in knowing that there are people out there today alive because of my husband and feel so proud of him.”
The intensive-care consultant believes the message about organ donation has got through to the younger generation, via social media.
“I think it is rapidly becoming socially accepted. It is important for families to know people’s wishes. Have that conversation, is my message.”