THE family of a grandfather who saved the lives of two people by donating his organs is urging Bolton residents to follow his example.
Douglas Nolan was 61 years old when he suffered a stroke while riding his motorbike in 2009 and died five days later in intensive care.
Even though the shock of Mr Nolan’s death is still vivid in his widow Valerie’s memory, she says the family has found comfort in his life-saving legacy. Now the grandmother-of-two is backing The Bolton News’ Sign Up To Save Lives campaign to boost the number of people on the Organ Donor Register.
Mrs Nolan, aged 64, of Hughes Street, Halliwell, said: “It was a terrible shock at the time because Duggie was the life and soul of everything.
“He was very fit. He played a lot of tennis and he was the king of karaoke.
“He was absolutely great. He would do anything for anyone and that was what he was known for.”
Mr Nolan’s family had to make the brave decision whether to donate his organs after being told by doctors he would not survive the brain injuries complicated by his stroke.
When his life-support machine was switched off, Mrs Nolan and her two children, Glyn and Nadine, were told Mr Nolan’s kidneys had been matched with two people waiting for a donor.
Mrs Nolan said: “It was the children that actually persuaded me it was what Duggie would have wanted. I kept saying I did’t want anyone to touch him.
“I was so upset I just couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t accept he was dead at that moment.
“Then I can remember my children took me for a walk and we discussed it.
“They said he had helped people all his life and it was what he would have wanted.
“What helped me make my mind up was thinking, ‘What if it was one of my grandchildren who needed a kidney?’”
Mr Nolan’s kidneys helped two young women who were reliant on dialysis.
Now Mrs Nolan says it is vital families discuss their wishes to donate their organs with family members.
She added: “The thing is you think you’re invincible but you never know what’s going to happen.
“We had never discussed it because we never thought something like that was round the corner. My advice is sign up to the register and discuss it with your family.”
To Sign Up To Save Lives, go to the NHS organ donor register at organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 1232323 or text SAVE to 62323.