Widow supports proposal after agreeing to give gift of life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 September, 2008, 12:00am

It took Chu May-yuk six hours to change her answer from 'no' to 'yes' after she was asked to donate organs from her late husband, who collapsed and died at his office in December.

Her husband, surnamed Leung, was in a coma for more than 10 days before dying from a stroke. Doctors said his organs were perfect for donation.

But when Hospital Authority transplant co-ordinator Angela Wong Kar-wai approached Ms Chu and her only daughter, the question of whether to donate her husband's organs to save lives appeared to be too 'heavy and pressing'.

Although the couple had done a lot of voluntary work and both loved helping others, Ms Chu was unsure whether her husband wanted to donate his organs.

'I bluntly told the nurse that my husband had never told me his wish, so I could not make a decision for him. My daughter was still so emotional ... she kept crying and crying, and could not hear a word from the nurse.

'My husband used to be very healthy - he loved hiking and running - we could not accept losing him so suddenly.'

But Ms Wong did not give up. She spent several hours trying to convince the family and told them the donation would bring the gift of life to patients on the waiting list for transplants.

'Finally, at one point, my daughter changed her mind. She accepted that donating her father's organs could save other lives,' Ms Chu said.

After talking to more family members, Ms Chu agreed - six hours after first hearing the request - to donate her husband's liver and kidneys.

Now she supports a proposal to set up a memorial garden for organ donors.

'Like my husband, it was not his own choice to give out his organs. It is good that society can give some recognition,' she said.

'But more importantly, I think the garden and some activities can help educate our next generation.

'I am glad that I have made that decision to help others. Many people still think it is important to keep a dead body intact. It takes time to change that mentality. '