Max and Keira’s law on organ donation will start saving lives within weeks

Max and Keira’s law will come into force within weeks the Government have announced as Health Secretary Matt Hancock paid tribute to them both.

The new legislation means everyone in England will be understood to be a donor when they die unless they opt out following a four-year Mirror campaign.

And it ensures our poster boy Max Johnson, 12, and his heart donor Keira Ball, who died in a tragic accident aged nine, will go down in history.

Max spoke of his hope that the new law will help to save countless lives. “I would love to see it making that difference,” said the schoolboy, of Winsford, Cheshire. “I hope families tell one another what they want if the worst should happen.

“That will make it so much easier for transplant teams to approach them.” He added: “When you are waiting for a transplant, every day counts. By remembering Keira in this way, she will go on to help save even more lives.”

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His dad Paul, 45, a civil servant, paid tribute to our Change the Law for Life crusade delivered with “determination, skill and integrity”. The Government said the new law will mean up to 700 extra transplants each year by 2023, helping thousands of people across the UK.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted too many people lose their lives waiting for an organ. “I’m incredibly proud of the action we are taking with this new law,” he added. “This is an important step forward in making organ donation easier and more available to those who need it.

“I pay tribute to the brave campaigning of families such as Max and Keira’s, whose tireless work on this issue has made a huge difference.” The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill 2017-19 passed the last crucial hurdle in the House of Lords last February.

It was guided through by Labour stalwarts Geoffrey Robinson, Dan Jarvis and Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, who said: “I’m delighted that we are going full speed ahead with the campaign.

“Through organ donations, hundreds of lives are saved, and quality of life improved for thousands more.” He paid tribute to our readers for helping to inspire a change ‘that will mean so much to so many people’.

The new law will come into force on May 20. Jacob West, Director of Healthcare Innovation at the British Heart Foundation, told how more than 300 people in the UK are waiting for a heart or a heart and lung transplant, ‘not knowing when or if they will receive their new organ’.

“Max and Keira’s Law is a life saving change in legislation that will offer hope to these people and their families.” Former health minister Jackie Doyle-Price, added: “At long last it is here.

"This is just the start, it is not the end. People must be prompted to think about this, especially people from ethnic minorities.

“Though they are less inclined to give, their need is greater.”

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Former PM Theresa May named after the law after Max and Keira, who tragically lost her life in a car accident near her home in Barnstaple, Devon in 2017.

The Mirror campaign was supported by her parents Joe and Loanna.

Laura Beattie, 31, of Stretford, Manchester, is one of almost 6,000 people in UK waiting for a donor.

She has cystic fibrosis, and needs a lung transplant.

“It would make an absolutely massive difference in all aspects of my life,” she said.

“I really hope the law change encourages more people to even just consider organ donation. A transplant is my only option now.”

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said most people do support donation in principle, yet only around four in 10 have actually registered their decision.

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