Student organises organ donor day in aid of friend


A second year York student organised ‘Derwent Donor Day’ to encourage his peers to sign the organ donor register after his friend’s body started to reject a lung transplant.

Adam Bennett, a second year studying Biochemistry, organised the event on Wednesday, February 8 to cheer up his housemate Matthew Stein, whose condition has deteriorated over recent months.

Stein, also a second year, had a lung transplant after suffering a bad case of Pneumonia when he was younger but recently his lung function has decreased as his body has begun to reject the replaced organs.

Speaking to The Yorker, Bennett said: “Matt started this year as normal but realised his health was deteriorating towards the end of first term as his lung function had started to decrease.

“After spending most of the Christmas holidays in hospital he realised that he couldn't continue his course at university. If he survives until next year he may want to take 2nd year again.”

Stein’s worsening health spurred Bennett to organise the organ donor day in Derwent in an attempt to cheer up Stein and encourage people to register as organ donors and save lives.

“Matt had always wanted to set up an organ donor campaign in Derwent,” Adam revealed. “With him now too ill to do so, I thought it would be something positive to cheer him up in hospital. Derwent chair Francesca Knight suggested making a Facebook event to increase publicity and she helped giving out leaflets on the day too.”

Bennett wrote on the Facebook event: “Those of you who know Matt will know that he never let it stop him getting on with life, even though he was on 40 pills a day.

“Unfortunately, as with most transplant patients, he has a drastically reduced life span and is now reaching the end as his body has started to reject his lungs. He is currently undergoing a radiotherapy treatment similar to that received by cancer patients (but three times as strong) in an attempt to dampen his immune response.

“We need our organs now but after we finish using them they could still save a life.”

Bennett spent Wednesday in Derwent Bar encouraging other students to register as organ donors and was pleased that many people signed up on the spot.

He said: “Six people filled out the form there and then but I gave out around another 30 leaflets to people who said they'd sign up later but I don't know how many picked up leaflets that were lying around or signed up online.

“I was very pleased, especially when they signed up on the spot, but it annoyed me when people refused to sign up for petty reasons,” he added.

Find out more and register to become an organ donor on the NHS website.

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