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BBC News

An organ donation campaigner is the youngest person to be named on the New Year Honours list.

18-year-old Lucia Mee has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her efforts in the field of raising awareness of organ donation.

She joins a host of names such as Ringo Starr, Nick Clegg, Wiley, ten members of the health sector and 800 everyday heroes on the prestigious list.

Lucia, who is from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland suffers from autoimmune hepatitis, and has already undergone three liver transplants.

The first of her operations took place when she was just eight-years-old, and her most recent transplant took place just two years ago.

Lucia is now using her experiences to campaign for organ donation to be part of the national school curriculum, and for everyone to register as an organ donor.

Her goal is to make the conversation around organ donation more open and she believes that further education on the issue can help improve the current system.

BBC News quotes her as saying:

For me, it has always been a special thing to know that the decision has not been made for someone but has been a gift from each person or their family.

Whatever system we have in place it is more important in my view that it operates alongside education and conversation.

There is not enough evidence that the opt-out system results in more organ donations if it is done without education.

Lucia is currently finishing up her studies at school but has already competed at the British Transplant Games and set up the Live Loudly Donate Proudly campaign group.

Despite her amazing work, she admitted she was "shocked" to receive the honour. The Mirror quotes her as saying:

I didn’t know what the award was, to begin with. My dad had to explain it to me.

The fact that I’m here and really able to do this is down to the fact that there are organ donors.

The main message is that if people would agree to give their organs, to tell loved ones and relatives.

I hope it’s a conversation starter for people.

According to the BBC, 6,500 people in the UK are awaiting organ transplants.

Ministers in England and Northern Ireland are considering introducing the "presumed consent" method, which would require people to opt out of organ donation, rather than register themselves as a donor.

Wales has already implemented the system and Scotland are also intending to introduce their own version of the scheme.

HT BBC

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