A WORCESTER youngster who will need a cornea transplant is one of the faces of a festive organ donation campaign.
Arabella Oliver, 10, is relying on the life-saving gift of a tissue donor in a bid to retain her eyesight.
More than 230 other children in the UK urgently need organ transplants and more need or will need cornea transplants, if they are to be here for and literally see more Christmases.
Now, in a bid to raise awareness of the need for more child organ and tissue donors, a campaign has been launched.
Children in need of transplants are represented by handmade dolls that will be placed across the country.
Each doll has a badge inviting people to scan a QR code for stories of children in need of transplants.
Arabella’s doll is being hosted at NHS Blood and Transplant’s centre in Speke, Liverpool.
Her mum Claire has also had a cornea transplant as a result of the same genetic condition.
“Arabella is ambitious, enthusiastic and full of fun every single day, from the moment she wakes up to the time she falls asleep to dream about football,” Claire said.
“As of last year we discovered Arabella has inherited a cornea dystrophy called ‘Avellino Dystrophy’ from me after a routine eye examination.
“As positive as we are as a family, this pulled at my heart knowing that one day in the future my little girl will need a cornea graft, due to the dystrophy being progressive over time.
“No parent wants their child to experience the emotions and frustrations that they have endured themselves.
“After having received a cornea transplant myself I understand how unsettling the wait can be.
“Due to her love of football I’m sure a delay when being called up to play for England one day would be most inconvenient to Arabella.
“Or not being able to take her driving test when her friends are or feeling isolated when you are unable to see the world as clearly as those around her.
“When I asked Arabella why she would like to take part and help in raising awareness, her answer was ‘Well, people need to know about it because if they need a cornea, or organ, and their children need one then they need to be able to get one’.
“Cornea donors are in a short supply and we need to improve this for our children’s generation.” she added.
Visit our website to watch the Waiting to Live NHS Organ Donation video.