Family pays tribute to brave Rosie who fronted organ donor campaign

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The family of a young woman whose passion for life placed her at the forefront of the fight for organ donation have today paid tribute to their ‘brave girl’.

Rosie Neath, 29, died on Sunday in the arms of her loving father Alan following complications due to cystic fibrosis.

Organ donor champion Rosie Neath with her sister Helen

Organ donor champion Rosie Neath with her sister Helen

Her mum Barbara said: “Her daddy was the first to hold her, and the last.”

Courageous Rosie, an active campaigner for organ donation, underwent a double lung transplant in 2015.

She gave talks about organ donation and the importance of signing the life-saving register at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she worked.

And her death now means two more people are given a chance to live, as she donated both her kidneys.

Her daddy was the first to hold her, and the last.

Dad Alan said: “Somebody somewhere lost a loved one so we could have Rosie for another two years, and we are really grateful for that.

“Now our tragedy means two more people will get the transplant they need.

“These families who have got Rosie’s kidneys will be over the moon.

“She was so passionate about getting people to sign up. She has always been on the donors list. It’s what she would have wanted.”

Rosie Neath

Rosie Neath

Following her operation in 2015, Rosie became one of the faces of the NHS Organ Donation Register.

Her story was used to encourage others to sign up and help save lives.

Speaking at the time, Rosie said: “I just felt really lucky and now I feel like I have a new lease of life.”

However, her condition deteriorated and the former Collegiate High School 
student was told she would require a second transplant.

Alan said: “She really believed she was going to get another transplant.

“Unfortunately one didn’t come quick enough. There’s really such a waiting list.

“That’s why we’ve got to get chasing to get everybody to sign up.

“She did try to keep going and keep going until her 
little body couldn’t stand it any more.

“If she was a boxer, she would have been a world champion.”

Mum Barbara said: “She was an inspiration. The bravest girl in the world.

“She promoted organ donation because she believed in it. She gave talks to young doctors.

“She never moaned. She was always happy. Everybody who met her loved her. Her personality shone through.

“If you put her in a room full of 10 girls and said ‘pick out the poorly one’ you wouldn’t have done.”

Alan and Barbara have now continued Rosie’s organ donation campaign and have appealed for more people to follow in the footsteps of their selfless daughter.

Alan said: “We’re fully supportive of the transplant process and we’re very proud of her. She has said all along that that’s what she wanted to do.”

Barbara said: “Please take heart from this and see that goodness can come out of sadness.”

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Rosie was a wonderful ambassador for organ donation and we are deeply saddened to hear the news of her death. Our thoughts are with Rosie’s family.”

Rosie leaves behind her twin brother Mark, sisters Helen and Donna, aunty Sandra, cousin Katie and her husband Martin, and goddaughter Fiorella.

Funeral details have yet to be announced.

What does the NHS say?

Nine seriously-ill patients from Blackpool died before they could get an organ transplant in the last 10 years, The Gazette revealed last month.

New figures showed that 134 people across Lancashire have died while on the waiting list in the past decade, with 133 now in need of a life-saving transplant.

Speaking at the time, assistant director of organ donation and transportation for the NHS Anthony Clarkson said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Lancashire waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

“A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.

“If you want to save lives, don’t leave it too late to talk to your family. In Lancashire, there are more than 521,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, if you want to be a donor, your family’s support is still needed for donation to go ahead.

“If you are unsure about donation, please ask yourselves as a family; what would you do if one of you needed a transplant? Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d take an organ, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”

Sign the organ donor register

An organ donation is when somebody agrees to replace a person’s own failing organs with an organ of their own.

Most organs are donated by deceased donors, however, some organs, such as the kidney and liver, can be donated by living donors.

People can donate their kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, small bowel, corneas, and body tissue. On average, around three people die every day waiting for an organ donation.

People can sign the life-saving register online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

Cystic fibrosis

• Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease caused by a defective gene.

• Around 10,800 people in the UK have the life-threatening condition, which causes the lungs and digestive system to become clogged.

• Although life expectancy for people with cystic fibrosis can vary, the median predicted survival age is 41.