Organ donation
Max Johnson, centre, with (L-R) his mother Emma and BHF's Annie Blanchard and Hayley Gough and Phoenix UK's Emma Charlesworth on 8 Aug 2022 in Runcorn. Photo: Phoenix UK

A 14-year-old heart transplant campaigner visited Phoenix UK’s headquarters in Runcorn recently to raise awareness of the importance of organ donations.

The visit by Max Johnson, founder of  ‘Max and Keira’s law’, along with his mother Emma, coincided with the launch of Phoenix UK’s partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in which the pharmaceutical provider committed to set a donation goal of raising £20,000 by June 2023 for the heart charity.

Max and Emma met with Phoenix UK’s employees and gave a talk on the importance of the work they have carried out on behalf of BHF.

Max, who was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy when he was eight years old, also shared his own story. His life was saved when he was gifted with Kiera Ball’s heart – a nine-year-old girl from Devon who died in a car accident.

Max and his family campaigned tirelessly to change the law in England in favour of an opt-out system for organ donation since he was ‘gifted’ his new heart. ‘Max and Keira’s Law’ passed in May 2020.

Nigel Swift, managing director of Rowlands, Phoenix UK’s largest community pharmacy member organisation, commented: “We were thrilled to have Max and his mum visit our team and speak about the incredible work they have done in collaboration with our charity partner BHF. The visit really inspired all of the team and made everyone that bit more determined to go the extra mile to reach our £20,000 donation goal.”

Max said: “I had a good day visiting the team in Runcorn and was glad I could tell them all about my journey. It was great to hear about their work with the BHF too, as they’ve always been so supportive of our campaign.”

Emma added: “The BHF has been instrumental throughout the campaign, so it was lovely to be able to give back and inspire the Phoenix UK team to raise as much money as they can for the charity. I look forward to hearing about all the challenges the team do over the next year!”

Hayley Gough, community relationship manager at the BHF, commented: “We have funded research into heart transplants since the early 1960s and helped to turn an idea that once seemed like science fiction into a reality.

“Today, our scientists continue to investigate ways to improve the success of these operations by finding ways to protect donor hearts from rejection and help people survive longer. We are only able to carry out this crucial work because of the support that we receive from our supporters such as Phoenix UK.”

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