Celebrity chef Tony Singh has paid tribute to a friend who died aged 31 following a motorbike accident – after carrying a donor card since the age of seven – as part of NHS Golden Jubilee’s support for organ and tissue donor week.
Chef Ben Dodson, who died in 2017, lived in Edinburgh and was well known in the hospitality industry.
Mr Dodson’s family said they wanted to “absolutely honour his wishes” to donate his organs after his death.
Every year, Organ and Tissue Donation Week raises awareness of the importance of making organ donation decisions known, as well as paying tribute to organ donors and families who have given the gift of life to others.
Mr Dodson’s mother, Kari, said the whole family is now on the organ donor register.
She said: “Ben had carried the organ donor card since he was seven and we absolutely wanted to honour his wishes because we always knew what his wishes were.
“We had gone to the GP surgery and he saw this box of cards and wanted to know what they were for so I explained it to him and he said, ‘right, can I have one of those mum?’, and that was it! We filled in the form and he carried the card with him ever since. All his life.
Mr Dodson had been in intensive care for six days before doctors told the family there was “no hope of recovery”.
Mrs Dodson added: “Immediately we all started talking about organ donation once we knew Ben wasn’t going to survive. It’s not an easy conversation to have because you know he’s going to die, but it was easy in the respect that we knew exactly what his wishes were. Ben made that decision for us.
“Our whole family is on the organ donation register, we all support it.”
Mr Singh, who worked with Mr Dodson, said he was a “total superstar”.
“He was quick to smile and make others laugh, a real force behind the bar.
“It was a great privilege to have him on my team. When he died, we were absolutely devastated. He was so young and taken far too early yet he still managed to give life to others.
“That’s why I believe organ donation is so important. Even in the darkest of times, life can still be preserved.
“The compassion Ben had at seven to decide to be a donor and the strength his family shared in honouring his wishes when he was no longer with us is truly amazing.”
NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank is home to Scotland’s only heart transplantation unit, which collaborates with the NHS Blood and Transplant service.
As the annual campaign draws to a close this weekend, Mr Singh urged people to sign up to the organ donation register to ensure families know whether they would like to donate their organs.
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