LMF founder welcomes National Transplant Week
Following organ donation which saved his life. Bodie Hodges Foundation to use inaugural festival to encourage Midlanders to become donor card holders
As the UK welcomes National Transplant Week (7 -13 July), Shane Whitfield co-founder of the Leicester Music Festival (LMF), commends the annual awareness campaign for highlighting the plight of those in need of organ donation, after he was given a life-saving liver.
It was while Shane, 29, from Oadby, was playing a five-a-side football match with friends, that he was rushed to hospital with liver pains. Within two weeks, Shane had dramatically lost four stone in weight, had learnt he had hepatitis and was preparing for the worst case scenario even being blessed at his bedside by a local priest. He desperately needed a liver transplant and was told he would die if he didn’t get one within 48 hours. Miraculously, a young man who had been in a fatal motorbike accident was found to be a donor for Shane and within 24 hours, Shane awoke, on his birthday after a 12 hour operation, no longer battling for his life.
His recovery was slow but every day he awakes thankful that they found him a match particularly when so many friends he’d made in hospital had died waiting for an organ.
Is it this terrifying first-hand experience which led Shane to give LMF, which runs over two days in July, a heavily charitable focus. As well as having donor stations set up at the event, The Bodie Hodges Foundation will be launching a donor-specific campaign to actively encourage more people to become donors.
The Leicestershire charity was established by Nick Hodges 18 months ago when his son Bodie died aged just 10 months old following a choking accident. Bodie showed remarkable strength and courage and went on to be an organ donor. He saved the lives of four children.
Nick Hodges explains: “7,500 people are actively looking for transplants in the UK and so this July, in partnership with University Hospital Leicester, we are launching our ‘Bodie’s a hero’ campaign. Our aim is to get 10,000 people to sign up to become donors and we are launching this to the expected crowd of 44,000 people at LMF before beginning a roadshow across the UK.”
Shane, who is an ambassador for The Bodie Hodges Foundation, has also agreed to be in a promotional video about the importance of organ donation. The short film will be aired in front of the expected 44,000 crowd at the event and both Shane and Nick hopes, will encourage both attendees and their friends and families to consider becoming donors.
Commenting, Shane Whitfield, said: “On average, three people a day die while waiting for an organ transplant in the UK because there aren’t enough donors. Sadly, four out of ten families don’t give permission to donate when approached. Statistics like this make me realise how lucky I was to find a donor in the nick of time, so I want to do everything in my power to encourage as many people as possible to become organ donors.”
In addition to the donor stations, LMF has named Wishes for Kids as its charity partner with children from the organisation receiving VIP access to the two-day event.
Leicester Music Festival is the first-of-its-kind event for the city of Leicester; a two day concert bringing together international music acts from pop, urban, reggae, RnB and soul.
Being held at the Welford Road Stadium, home of the Leicester Tigers on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th July from 12noon to 10.30pm, over 44,000 people are expected to attend the family-biased festival.
Tickets for LMF are on sale now priced from £45 per person per day and can be purchased from www.theticketfactory.com, www.skiddle.com, www.eventim.co.uk and in person at Visit Leicester (on Gallowtree Gate), the Leicester Tigers’ ticket and the Capital FM Arena, Nottingham.
CONFIRMED EVENT LINE-UP
FRIDAY 25 JULY 2014 SATURDAY 26 JULY 2014
Tinie Tempah Labrinth
Professor Green Union J
Katy B Kool and the Gang
Soul II Soul The Saturdays
Billy Ocean Diversity
Aswad Sam Bailey
Diversity The Real Thing
Heatwave UB40 ft Ali Campbell, Astro &
Hannah Boleyn Mickey Virtue