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Date: 28 November 2023
Graham Wagstaff's story
New life, new business
Two years ago, Graham Wagstaff's future didn't look good. But everything changed when his life was saved by the bravery of a person he’ll never get the chance to meet.
“Two years ago the future was bleak; I had a congenital lung disease and was forced to close my business, Saturn Motor Company. I was convinced that I had just had my last Christmas dinner.
"However, thanks to the bravery of an organ donor, my wife’s undeterred faith and support, Dr Mann’s consultancy and the Heart and Lung Transplant Co-ordinator Team, I was given the greatest gift of all – a new pair of lungs.
"Thank you is not enough for my co-ordinator, Sharon Beer, who is not only brilliant at her job, but puts the patient at ease and gives them confidence to go through the fearful operation, and afterwards always remembers your name makes every patient feel special.
"Also to the surgical and nursing team who work so skilfully hard in theatre. My particular operation took nine hours of care and concentration. While most people were toasting the New Year, the staff in theatre and ITU were saving my life. The post-operative care I still receive at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is remarkable.
"It is impossible to repay those people for what they have done for me. I have had two more birthdays and two more Christmases to see my granddaughter grow; these have been magical moments. Miraculously I have been able to return to the business that I have enjoyed for more than thirty-five years and reopened Saturn Motor Company."
To mark the two-year anniversary of Graham's transplant, his company donated £50 for each car sold in January and February to the Lung Transplant Unit fund at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The fund was set up by the hospital's official charity, University Hospital Birmingham Charities [now the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity]. The company also donated £10 for everyone who completed a donor card application form at the car showroom.
"It is difficult to convey the importance of agreeing to become an organ donor. We hear so many sad stories and rarely a story like mine. Someone who said ‘yes’ gave me my life back. Please call the Donor register on 0845 6060400, or go to the UK Transplant website or pick up a donor card from your surgery or chemist. Still in doubt? Come along and see me!"
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