Wife bereaved by road crash urges others to register for organ donation

RoadPeace member, Nichola Bond, tells the story of her husband Ian’s death, and how out of the tragedy he saved three lives:

“On 27th November 2018, what I thought was a normal day began with my Husband, my Bondy quietly leaving the house to start another week of morning runs.  He went out as usual at 5.40am to complete the run before starting work.  My alarm went off at 6am and I padded downstairs, as I always did, to make him a cuppa ready for when he came back.  I left it on his bedside cabinet and that was the last cuppa I ever made him.  What I didn’t realise was five minutes up the road, on his way back, he had been hit by a car and was lying on the road surrounded by strangers fighting for his life.  When he did not come back to me, with his endorphin hyped enthusiasm about how free he felt when he was running, at his usual time I knew something was very wrong.  The cuppa on the side growing colder by the minute as the owner did not return to claim it, to drink it as he always had.  I called him multiple times on his phone, no answer.  I ran down the road expecting him to come running along it with some excuse that time had got the better of him with his usual sorry face.  When I finally got through to his phone, a nurse answered and told me to get to hospital as soon as possible.

That was the beginning of a nightmare I feel I will never wake up from.  I did not realise at that point how seriously injured my Husband was, my Ian.  When I got to the hospital, I thought I would see him strapped up with a few broken bones and apologies aplenty for the worry he had put me through.  We had seen it so many time on these Hospital programmes, how gravely ill people are and how they survive against the odds.  I thought that would be him, I thought he would be the survivor.  When explained to me how gravely ill Ian was I still did not register how catastrophic at that point.  I did not believe for one minute that this man, the man I had cried with, laughed with, loved with all my heart and smothered me in the biggest, deepest hugs when I had been at my lowest ebb would not survive.  The heart of our family and his own family for so long would not be with us anymore.  When I was told I could go through and see him in the trauma ward I was not prepared for the truly horrific sight that faced me.  My beautiful husband wrapped in bandages, covered in blood just not like the man I always knew.  He was heavily sedated, I was never going to speak to him again, hear him tell me he loved me, kiss his lips or feel his touch again.

The doctors tried in vain to save him but the extent of his injuries were too great and after four days of clinging on he was not going to come through.  My world collapsed that day, the thought of having to tell my six year old son that his Dad was not coming home, that he would die was the worst experience of my whole entire life.  He absolutely idolised his Dad so much, he was the first superhero he had ever known and he would never see him grow up into the man, I hope, is just like his Ian.

Ian had always been a very kind and giving man, there is not one thing he wouldn’t do for anyone.  His kindness had no bounds and he was a gentleman in every way, something very rare in this modern age.  He gave blood regularly and when it came to the question of organ donation there was no doubt or reservation that the gift of life that he was able to give, as his last act of kindness in this world, would not be honoured by us or our family.  Organ donation is one of those things that you think about registering for but do not get around to doing.  Nobody wants to think about what you would do when you die or the decisions your family have to make at your bedside when the end is inevitable. 

The Organ Donation Nurses were so considerate, although they had a job to do, many questions to ask and authorities to seek they did not underestimate how difficult this was for us as a family, to say goodbye to Ian while another life was being saved somewhere else.  On 1st December 2018 at 45 years old, just four days short of his 46th birthday my Bondy died.  He had to be kept artificially alive so that his organs could be harvested, I had to walk away from the hospital leaving him in the care of the doctors.  There was no final goodbye, switch off of machines or silence as you see on the TV.  It was so hard, your heart thinks he is still there but your head knows he has gone.  He was finally free of pain, the same freedom he had felt when running.

A few weeks later I received a letter from the Organ Donation Service to say that three lives had been saved from the donation made by Ian, a Kidney went to someone who had been on dialysis for five years, another Kidney had saved a life and his liver had saved another.  His pancreas being received into a research programme.  I eventually heard from two of the recipients who wrote beautiful thank you notes, I cried very, very hard when I received those notes but they give me so much hope that Ian lives on in others.  A small part of him still continues to exist in this world not just in our lives but in those of others.  In years to come I hope that my Son will gain some comfort and hope from this gift.

In May 2019 I along with Ian’s family and our Son attended an award ceremony during which Ian was posthumously awarded the Order of St John.  It is awarded to the families of people who have donated their organs to recognise the gift that they have given.  It was very emotional, there were so many families there who had donated and although sad it was uplifting to think that so many lives had been saved. 

I hope that reading this will give you the strength and courage to register for organ donation, please discuss these wishes with your family.  It is an amazing thing to do and can give hope in very, very dark days because some days hope is all you have to get through.

As time goes by grief becomes liveable and I am grateful that I found an amazing support in Roadpeace.  I have attended their Resilience course and met some very strong people who have managed to carry on when their world has collapsed.  They have spurred me on when I think that I cannot go on anymore because they genuinely feel my pain.  I have found a home for my grief and for that I will always be grateful.”

 

If you would like to find out more about organ donation, go to https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/.