Mum’s plea over organ donations

Mum Rachel Broddle with 10 week old baby Willow Butler, facing challenges with a heart defect. Pic Richard Ponter 152712c
Mum Rachel Broddle with 10 week old baby Willow Butler, facing challenges with a heart defect. Pic Richard Ponter 152712c

A mother has spoken of her determination to secure a change in organ donation law in memory of her daughter.

Rachel Broddle and her partner Tom Butler lost their daughter Willow in August after her brave battle against a severe heart defect.

They are now backing a petition to make the organ donation process an opt-out system.

The petition needs 100,000 signatures to be debated in Parliament and is now just 23,000 short.

After the couple endured an emotional Christmas they are now looking forward to 2016 to raise money for charity in memory of their daughter.

The couple, who live in New Queen Street, had their world turned upside down on Christmas Eve 2014 when they went to hospital for a 20-week scan for pregnant Rachel.

The doctors told them that in effect, Willow had only half a heart.

She suffered from right ventricle dependent coronary circulation, one of the rarest forms of heart defect. It meant Willow relied on just one part of her heart to keep pumping.

Willow was also diagnosed with hypoplastic right heart syndrome, a pulmonary atresia and a right coronary aneurysm.

After Willow was born in April, at 39 weeks, doctors told the family they had just a year to find Willow a new heart.

“Christmas has been a difficult time for us this year,” said Rachel. “This would have been Willow’s first Christmas and it was Christmas Eve when we found out that she had heart problems.

“It’s obviously been quite emotional.”

Willow was placed on the organ donation waiting list but died before a suitable heart could be found for her.

Currently the UK has the “Opt-In” system: this means to become an organ and tissue donor people must make the effort to sign up to the 
organ donor register.

The opt-out would mean people would have to request to be taken off the list. Supporters believe that this will mean many more people will be likely to remain on the 
donor list.

Rachel added: “The petition needs 100,000 signatures by the end of April to be discussed by MPs and it’s nearly there.

“We have supported the campaign in the hope that other families do not have to go through the pain we went through.

“If one little piece of good can come out of this then it will mean that Willow did not die in vain.”

Rachel and Tom are also set to launch a number of fundraisers in 2016 after being inundated with messages after The Scarborough News told their story in July.

“I can’t even begin to count how many messages we got,” said Rachel, a former Graham School student.

“People were asking if they could help or donate so that is something I definitely want to start next year.”

To find our more about Willow or to sign the petition follow the link on Rachel’s Facebook page