On Wednesday, Prince Daniel of Sweden attended a public symposium on organ donations at Uppsala University Hospital on World Kidney Day. Representatives of Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala University, and other invited guests were all in attendance. The focus of the conference was to encourage and increase organ donations. The continuing research on broadening “the criteria for organ donation” was also discussed, according to the Royal Court.
His Royal Highness told those assembled during the symposium, “I am here today and a strong reason for it is that I have experience with kidney disease and know what it means.
“So you should not be too hard on those who do not get involved. For we know that it is over 80 per cent of the Swedish people, who are willing to donate, but only 15 percent have marked it as to have signed up to [give].
“There is a lot of knowledge. You get more knowledge, and you may become interested, and if you are interested, it is more likely that one wants to get involved…Kidney disease affects many, but if you do not have it up close, that you, yourself, are affected or a relative, you might not care so much.”
The Prince met with patients at the hospital and got a tour of the transplant department 85D2 alongside Helene Malm, the section transplant manager at the hospital. He also spoke with 15-year-old Vilma Gustavsson who just received a donated organ from her father last year. This comes eight years after Daniel received a new kidney donated by his father, Olle Westling.
Daniel underwent the kidney transplant at Karolinska University Hospital on 28 May 2009 after suffering for the majority of his life from congenital kidney problems. He told the assembled media on Wednesday, “This summer celebrates me and my external kidney’s, my dad’s kidney, eight years together. And it has worked extremely well. I am thankful and happy.”
Swedish Women’s Weekly asked him how organ donations should be talked about and he responded, “I think that you in the media, and anyone who can participate and spread the message, has an important role. As we heard today, Sweden is one of Europe’s most generous nations in terms of if you are willing to donate their organs in the event that you happen to have an accident – but few take the plunge. There is an incredible discrepancy between what one is willing to do and what they show in action. It’s about spreading knowledge and talking to each other about it.”
He admitted that this is a difficult topic for some and went on to say that his father’s donation gave him a new life and the ability to continue his life to marry Crown Princess Victoria and have two children with her, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. He said that his transplant is no secret, and he will make his children aware of it when they are old enough to understand.
His Royal Highness has worked to promote organ donations for years, and he is the patron of More Organ Donations (MOD).