Child Health

ICU nurse writes children’s book to encourage organ donation | Nursing Times

A children’s book about organ donation, written by an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, will raise money for charity and be given to NHS organ donation nurse specialists.

Mark Ainscough, who is a father and an ICU nurse at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), wrote ‘Freddie and the Magic Heart’ to make conversations about organ donation less scary for children.

“It feels fantastic that so many people helped us to make the book a reality”

Mark Ainscough

“Often, people don’t think too much about organ donation until they are confronted with it in terrible circumstances,” he said.

“I tried to imagine how hard it would be to communicate this to a child and felt that it would be beneficial to have a children’s book that was engaging and fun to read about organ donation.”

The picture book, which is illustrated by Sheffield artist Lulu McWilliams, tells the story of a little boy who finds out that his dying mum could help some of the thousands of people who need new organs, by giving her ‘recycled parts’ to them.

Freddie and the Magic Heart

Mr Ainscough crowdfunded £2,510 to produce the book, and received an additional £2,000 from the NHS Blood and Transplant Organ Donation Committee for print and distribution costs.

A copy of Freddie and the Magic Heart will be given to all nurses who specialise in organ donations across UK hospitals, and all proceeds from the book will be given to the national Donor Family Network Charity.

Vikki Lloyd, a specialist nurse for organ donation at WWL, encouraged Mr Ainscough to pursue the crowdfunding idea.

She said: “[The book is] an amazing idea and not only will it provide invaluable support to children in a very daunting situation, but it will also help raise awareness of organ donation in the younger generation.”

There are around 7,000 people currently waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, and every day someone dies needing one.

The law changed in each UK country in recent years so that organ donation now operates under an opt-out system, but families are still always consulted before the procedure.

Angie Scales, a paediatric lead nurse at NHS Blood and Transplant, the service which oversees organ donation in the UK, said: “I’m sure Freddie and the Magic Heart will help many families at a tragic time and prompt more family conversations about organ donation.

“We need families to talk about organ donation for all members of the family, including children, and to confirm their decisions on the NHS Organ Donor Register.”

Mr Ainscough said he was grateful for all the support his book had received.

He said: “It feels fantastic that so many people helped us to make the book a reality. I hope we can make a difference.”


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