Home Health Organ donation campaigner, 18, in New Year Honours

Organ donation campaigner, 18, in New Year Honours


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Lucia Mee has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her work raising awareness of organ donation.

The 18-year-old, from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, who has had three liver transplants – the first aged eight – is the youngest person on the New Year Honours list.

She campaigns for organ donation to be taught in schools and for everyone to sign the organ donation register.

She previously told the BBC that each new organ was "a gift".

Miss Mee was diagnosed with auto immune hepatitis when she was young and told she needed a new liver.

However, two transplant surgeries in 2007 and 2009 ended in her body rejecting the new organs and she received her third new liver when she was 16.

'Education and conversation'

"For me, it has always been a special thing to know that the decision has not been made for someone but has been a gift from each person or their family," she said.

"Whatever system we have in place it is more important in my view that it operates alongside education and conversation."

She also said the family should always have the final say.

And she said recently: "There is not enough evidence that the opt-out system results in more organ donations if it is done without education."

Miss Mee said she had written to two of her organ donors but had not heard anything back from them.

She is now finishing up her studies at school in Country Antrim after her most recent liver transplant.

Government ministers in Northern Ireland and England are thinking of moving to a system of 'presumed consent', in which people would have to opt out of organ donation rather than opting in by signing a donor register.

A consultation on the new system has already started.

Wales has already adopted the 'presumed consent' approach and Scotland plans to introduce a similar scheme.

Around 6,500 people in the UK are currently waiting for an organ transplant.

One in 10 recipients of this year's honours were from the health sector.

They include a damehoods for Cathy Warwick, former chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives and Clare Marx, outgoing president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a CBE for Dr Robin Lovell-Badge, from the Francis Crick Institute, for services to genetics and stem cell research.

There was also a Knight Grand Cross for medical scientist Sir Keith Peters.

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