WHEN father of three Grant McCabe died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 40, his family was devastated.
The floorlayer had collapsed at home in Armadale in West Lothian and was rushed to the Western General, but doctors were unable to save him.
However, the family’s grief turned to pride when they decided to follow his wishes and donate his organs – saving the lives of six people.
Now they are backing a new Scottish Government drive to get more people to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register.
His father, Brian, said: “I knew then that if my son needed an organ to survive we would have taken it with two hands so if any good could come of such a horrible situation, and he could help others live, we had to do it.
“My wife and his partner Liz agreed and so we said yes. We knew that this could help other people and they wouldn’t need to go through the heartache that we were going through.
“We all knew it was the right thing to do.”
Grant had watched a TV programme about organ donation with partner Liz Walker, and told her that he would donate all his organs, except his eyes. Although he wasn’t on the register, knowing his wishes made it easier for his family to go ahead.
His father said: “That’s why it is so important that people join the register and let their family know. It makes things much easier for them at such a difficult time.”
He said his grandchildren, Lisa, 14, Kyle, 12, and Glen, 10, were told their dad had saved other people’s lives, and had been comforted by the thought he was a hero.
He said: “They were so proud of their dad. He was their friend as well as their father and when they were told that he had saved lives it really helped them get through such a horrific time.
“At first we thought Grant had saved five people but when we got a letter to say it was six they called me up so excited that their dad had helped another person.”
The family also received letters, via the organ donation team, from some of the people whose lives were saved.
Brian and his wife Muriel have also encouraged 350 members of Brian’s Harley Davidson motorbike club to join the register.
Today the family were at the Royal Infirmary helping to launch a Scotland-wide push to get more people to sign up.
They were set to join health secretary Nicola Sturgeon this morning for the launch of the campaign, which will include TV and radio adverts, a tour, and letters sent to the homes of 300,000 people.
Brian said: “It is devastating and you don’t want to think about it, but if you join the register and let people know your wishes you help your family if that time ever comes.
“My boy was a great father and a great man. He loved nothing more than spending time with his family, taking the kids camping or to the zoo.
“I am so proud of him knowing he helped so many people. I strongly believe if you would be willing to receive an organ for a member of your family then you should agree to donate one if that time ever comes.”
n To sign the register, see www.organdonationscotland.org, call 0300 123 23 23 or text LIFE to 61611.