‘Universally loved’ Eastbourne man’s legacy will be protected

The brother of a “universally loved” Eastbourne man is fighting to protect his legacy by speaking up about organ donation.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 2:02 pm
Jay Williams volunteering at Airbourne SUS-191209-120424001

Jay Williams died in May this year, aged just 27, following complications after a heart transplant.

Now his younger brother Danny is keeping his message alive, raising awareness of organ donation and encouraging people to speak to their families about their wishes.

Jay suffered a heart attack aged 23

Danny, 24, said, “He was always about living life to the fullest, giving as much of himself as he could. He was an incredible person.

“He was universally loved. A lot of people would say that about their family member but literally everyone loved Jay.”

Jay volunteered at the organ donor stand at Airbourne and Eastbourne 999.

His brother said, “I didn’t want them to be a man down this year and want his message to continue, so I went to the organ donor tent with my younger brother Sam.

Jay Williams volunteering at Airbourne

“I want people to hear his message. Give all of yourself and don’t give up. He never once gave up. He really was one of the nicest, most genuine and selfless people that I will ever know.

“I want his legacy to be protected and I don’t want people to forget him.”

Danny said Jay’s condition seemed to come “out of nowhere” as he had always been very fit and healthy. At the age of 23 he had a severe heart attack and doctors told him he had an enlarged heart and needed a transplant.

For some time Jay was put on a LVAD device to help pump his heart, until he finally received a new heart in September 2018.

Danny said, “I was with him pretty much all throughout his journey since getting the transplant. I have never seen anyone face something so difficult with so much courage, strength and integrity.”

Tragically, Jay suffered an infection following the transplant and died in May this year.

“There were about 300 people at his funeral,” said Danny, “They couldn’t fit into the chapel, they were spilling out the front doors.

“I took the opportunity to talk about organ donation and encourage everyone to become donors, it’s what he wanted.”

Danny is encouraging people to talk to their loved ones if they wish to be an organ donor.

He said, “It’s a massively complicated thing to get your head around if you haven’t been made aware of what they wanted, that’s why speaking to people about becoming an organ donor is essential because it removes that decision from your family at a difficult time.

“A lot of times people haven’t even had that conversation, we never think it’s going to be your loved one but it can very well be.

“Jay received a new heart from a 16-year-old boy who tragically died in a car accident. How brave must his family have been to have done that?”

Organ Donation Week was held last week (September 2-8) to raise awareness. And from spring 2020, organ donation in England will move to an ‘opt out’ system.

This means that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

You still have a choice if you want to be an organ donor or not when you die.

Find out more about organ donation at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or visit www.shareyourwishes.co.uk/