Steve Ince meets man donor heart

by umer | 6:01 AM in |

Steve Ince meets man donor heart--LAST Christmas Will Pope, 21, received the gift of life. But it came at the expense of Steve Ince's son, Tom, whose heart was donated after his death.

Will was 16 when he first suffered heart failure. A virus had attacked his heart muscle and while doctors thought a mechanical pump would help him survive, his heart continued to deteriorate.

Last Christmas he was weeks away from death, surrounded in his London hospital room by his mum Rosie, 55, his dad, Philip, 57, and younger brothers Matt and Guy, now aged 18 and 15 respectively.

About 160 kilometres away in Bath, Steve and Sue Ince got the knock at the door that every parent dreads. Their son, Tom, had slid off the road in torrential rain and into a tree.

On New Year's Eve they were told that Tom had a 1 per cent chance of survival and that he was only being kept alive through the use of machines.

The doctor asked Steve and Sue if their son was an organ donor.

"It would have been easier, if I am honest, to say no," Mr Ince told the Daily Mail. "It would have been much easier to say, “No, leave him alone, he’s been through enough. I don’t want you to touch him.”

"But that wasn’t Tom’s wish. That was just me as a father trying to protect him, but if we had wavered, there would be people who wouldn’t be alive today."
So Will received Tom's heart. After a 12-hour operation and cardiac arrest, Will's body accepted Tom's heart.

But Will couldn't stop thinking about whose heart was now inside of him.

"I was aware that someone had to die for me to live, which was difficult to accept,’ says Will, a second-year university student. ‘But I reasoned that it was perhaps the only positive thing to come out of someone’s death."

After reading about his story, Mr Ince worked out that Will was the recipient of Tom's heart and contacted him on Facebook. He was curious as well about who had received his son's heart.

Both Mr Ince and Will spoke to a psychologist before they met to prepare them for the gamut of emotions they were likely to encounter.

Mr Ince told Will that meeting him had helped "lift him from the rut of grief."

"I feel like it couldn’t have gone to a better person. I feel privileged that it is you. Strange to think that a part of Tom is in you and he is helping you to survive," he said.

The pair also agreed to film their first meeting for a UK TV special on ITVencouraging organ donation.

Mr Ince said the decision to donate a loved one's organs can be incredibly difficult during the grief process.

‘They go down the road of asking you what organs you would like to give your authority to be used,’ says Steve. ‘And it is literally a tick list — starting with “Do you want the heart to go? Lungs?” It is almost as if you are agreeing to let your loved one go for every tick in the box."

However he encouraged everyone to consider it as giving someone a second chance at life.