The Gift of Life stone, Cardiff

The Gift of Life stone, Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff

This stone commemorates all of the people of Wales who have donated organs or tissues to aid the health of others. It was placed here in 2007 by Kidney Wales, a charity founded in 1967 to support improvements in the treatment of renal patients in Wales.

Organs donated by people who suffered early deaths, typically as a result of accidents, have saved the lives of many people who suffered chronic illnesses. Certain organs, such as kidneys and livers, have been donated by living people who continued to lead healthy lives afterwards.

Donated organs have also renewed the health of many other people, often freeing them from routine treatments such as dialysis, which purifies the blood of people whose kidneys don’t function normally. However, there has generally been a shortage of organs in the UK because many people are reluctant to sign up to the organ donation register. In 2015 it was estimated that three people died in Wales each month while waiting for a transplanted organ.

In December 2015 Wales became the first country in the UK to introduce presumed consent for organ donation. This meant that anyone who had not opted out would automatically be a potential donor. In the first six months of presumed consent, 32 of the 60 organs transplanted in Wales came from people whose consent was presumed (they had died without opting in or out).

The first kidney transplant in Wales was carried out in 1967 at Llandough Hospital, on the west side of Cardiff, in 1967. See the Footnotes for more transplant firsts. 

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Website of Kidney Wales

 

Footnotes: Milestones in transplant history

1902 – French doctor Alexis Carrel shows how blood vessels can be joined, making organ transplants possible

1954 – first kidney transplant, in the USA

1963 – first liver transport, in the  USA

1965 – UK’s first transplant using a kidney from a dead person

1967 – first heart transplant, in South Africa

1968 – UK’s first heart transplant

2010 – first face transplant, in Spain