THE family of a Dunfermline woman who saved the lives of three people thanks to organ donation have urged others to make their wishes known.

After Gail Maskell suffered a fatal cardiac arrest in 2020 at the age of just 51, her family were able to honour the mum's decision to be a donor, changing the lives of patients who had been waiting for vital surgeries.

Her husband, Jon Maskell, 56, said: "Gail was a grandma, a mum, a wife before anything else – she always put everyone first.

"She was a PA, and it was a job that suited her perfectly, as she lived her life to help other people, and she’s carried that on in death.

"Organ donation was something we’d all previously discussed and agreed we wanted to happen."

He says that they had always been aware of the importance of the practice, and did not give a second thought when asked.

"We were always of the mindset that it’s not of any use to us after we’re gone, so when the donor nurses came to speak to us we were on the same page as we knew what Gail wanted," he added.

"A friend of mine had a kidney transplant when he was a kid, so we know what an amazing difference it can make to people’s lives."

He is now calling for others to let their loved ones know what they would like to happen in a similar scenario, saying that previous discussions as a family had made the process easier.

Jon explained that he had since been comforted by the idea that Gail has been able to continue to help others, saying: "People don’t know how much organ donation can help you – that’s the bit people always miss.

"It’s not only helping the recipients, it has also helped me knowing that out of something so bad can come something so good.

"That’s not to say that it’s easy, I’ll admit I had mixed emotions reading the letter about who had received her organs. At first, I was angry that another family was so happy, but now I keep it in my bedside table and read it when I’m having a hard day.

"There were so many things the team at the hospital did for us that made the experience so personal, like creating a heart trace in a bottle, and giving teddy bears to my grandchildren, and I didn’t realise how much of a difference it would make.

"The whole process is designed to support you all."

The Scottish Government have launched a new campaign recently, 'Don’t Leave Your Loved Ones in Doubt', encouraging people to make their organ donation decision clear.

Under Scotland’s opt-out system of organ and tissue donation, people aged 16 and over have the choice to be a donor, or to opt out of donation.

The campaign aims to remind individuals to declare their decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and share their decision with friends and family.

Recent figures show more than half of people in Scotland have now registered with 52.6 per cent agreeing to be a donor and three per cent choosing to opt out.

You can register or find out more at or by calling 0300 123 2323.