Disabled Littlehampton athlete donates organs after seizure death

As a youth support worker and disability advocate, Seb Trezise made a difference to people's lives.

Hollie and Seb Tresize
Hollie and Seb Tresize

And even after his tragic death aged 32, he has continued to make a difference by being an organ donor.

For organ donation week, which ran from September 3 to 9, Seb’s widow Hollie shared his story to encourage others to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Click here to read an interview with Hollie for his funeral.

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Hollie and Seb Tresize

She said: “Donation has not eased the pain of losing the person I loved most in the world. However, I have since met a couple of people who either were recipients of donated organs or who knew recipients.

“When you meet someone who has benefited from organ donation and realise the impact the donation had on the life of another human being it absolutely made me proud of Seb and the decision to donate. It doesn’t change the fact that I have lost Seb but it gives someone else a chance to live and nobody could argue with the enormous value of that.”

The disabled athlete from Fastnet Way, Littlehampton, died in June 2018 from a cardiac arrest following a seizure while parked on his driveway after a day at work.

He was born with spina bifida and fluid on the brain, which required a shunt into his brain and left him wheelchair-bound for life.

But Seb never let his disabilities stop him. A keen swimmer growing up, he was part of the British Wheelchair Athletics Association for years, competing as a discus thrower.

He put his details on the NHS Organ Donor Register five times, and donated his kidney, liver, lungs and heart tissue. Hollie and Seb were fans of Grey’s Anatomy, sparking a chat on the topic.

She said: “It’s so important for the media to talk about these issues because Seb would never talk about death. I have always been open and willing to talk about these issues but Seb would just roll his eyes and say ‘we don’t need to talk about anything like that yet’.”

Last year, 70 people in West Sussex had their lives saved by a transplant. If more people agreed to donate, more lives would be saved in West Sussex and around the country.

Although the number of donors is increasing, and the waiting lists are reducing, right now there are around 6,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant across the UK.

During Organ Donation Week, the NHS is urging families to talk about donation with the message – ‘Words Save Lives’. Councils and organisations around the country are lighting prominent buildings pink, which is the colour of the modern donor card, in support of the country’s organ donation campaign.

Anthony Clarkson, Interim Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s tragic that so many people from West Sussex have died waiting for a transplant – what is shocking is that many of those lives could have been saved, had more families agreed to donate organs.

“People are dying every day because some families are not talking about donation. We need more families in West Sussex to say yes to organ donation, so that more lives can be saved.”

He added: “We all know that organ donation legislation will change to a deemed consent system in England and Scotland in future years but the harsh fact is people are dying right now waiting for an organ and it will still be important for people to know your decision.

“We don’t want people to die because of a fatal complacency that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too.

“Please, let your family know your decision and ask them if they want to be donors. Don’t leave your family guessing what you would have wanted to happen.

“We know that many families feel enormous pride and comfort at knowing that their relative went on to save lives through the gift of organ donation.”

“Nationally, around three people die a day in need of an organ. Only a small percentage of people die in circumstances where they can donate, so every donor is precious.

Millions of people are already on the NHS Organ Donor Register, join them today and tell your family you want to save lives. Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.