Brave Catherine is my inspiration says businesswoman who wants to boost organ donation

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A FRIEND of a inspirational young woman who died waiting for a transplant has organised a day to boost awareness of organ donation.

Julie Howson, owner of The Smart Exchange, Pershore was inspired to become an organ donor herself following the courageous example of her friend, Catherine Amies who died in January 2010 at the age of 38 while waiting for a double kidney and pancreas transplant. When she died her family discovered that Catherine Amies was herself an organ donor. Her father and mother, Michael and Elisabeth of Bridge Street, Pershore, have campaigned for more awareness of organ donation and to increase the number of donors among staff at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and more widely, within the community.

Mrs Howson of The Smart Exchange, has arranged a day to promote awareness of organ donation at her business at 13 High Street, Pershore at 6.30pm tomorrow (Thursday, March 6). The event is designed to promote organ donation and also to celebrate the eighth year of the business which buys and sells designer and quality labels.

The theme of is a dress agency which is where pre-loved ladies clothing is sold, the idea being that if you love pre-loved clothes you should "share the same philosophy of pre-loved organs" Mrs Howson said.

Mrs Howson said: "I know Michael and Elisabeth Amies and knew their late daughter Catherine who was a good customer at my business." Mr Amies, chairman of Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust's organ and tissue donation committee, said as awareness increased more donations were now taking place within hospitals, rising from eight in 2010 to 32 last year with registration rates also on the rise.

At the event tomorrow women will have the chance to see a presentation from Judith Mercer, an image consultant, and also a presentation from Jan McDonald from Simply Secretive, all about boudoir photography. There will be a free prize draw and entry is free.

Mrs Howson said: "This year I have chosen to support the organ donor campaign because this is a major issue UK wide and despite the increase in donations within the region, it remains a huge challenge to encourage people here in Worcestershire to 'carry the card'.

"Michael and Elisabeth will be supporting our celebration event with information about the organ campaign and, as a card carrier myself, I feel comfortable in helping to raise the profile of the campaign to my customers. Catherine inspired me to become a donor."

To attend the event contact Julie Howson on 01386 554620 and to find out more about the busines visit smartexchange-pershore.co.uk

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