Source: Manchester Evening News
ALMOST 3,000 people have joined the organ donor register after an M.E.N campaign.
We told the story of brave Rachael Wakefield, pictured, who suffers from a rare lung condition. Her life is on hold until she gets a life-saving organ swap.
Rachael, 21, is one of more than 400 people waiting for a transplant in Greater Manchester. But the clock is ticking – health officials say many patients will die before an organ becomes available.
Less than a quarter of the region’s population is on the organ donor register – well below the national average. Readers were so moved by Rachael’s story that 3,000 signed up, bringing the Greater Manchester total to 633,688.
Rachael, from Dukinfield, is still waiting for the call that could change her life but is thrilled by the response to her plea.
She said: “I thought if just one person responded to my story and signed the donor register that could save so many others.
“It is overwhelming to think almost 3,000 people have signed the register in the last month and I’m really pleased by their response – it shows people really care. I’m still waiting for my call but with more people signing up every day I hope it will be soon.”
The former Droylsden Girls School pupil became ill at 14 and suffered repeated lung infections and breathlessness.
Her condition deteriorated to the extent that doctors decided there was no point in putting her on the organ donor list. She was admitted to the Willow Wood hospice in Ashton under Lyne last December where she was expected to die.
But Rachael refused to give up and has astounded medical experts with her will to live despite her lungs only operating at 15 per cent capacity.
She said: “When I was at the hospice they said I was too unwell and to enjoy last Christmas. But I just thought, that’s not good enough, I’m not having that. I’m getting on that list.”
Last month it was finally decided Rachael, who is connected to an oxygen machine 24 hours a day, should have her wish and she was added to the list. Mum Lynette, 43, and dad Philip Motterhead, 39, are also waiting anxiously for the call. Retail boss Philip said: “Obviously our main concern is Rachael but there are others. She’ll get through, I know she will.”
Pam Prescott, of UK Transplant, said: “Every day three people die while waiting for an organ transplant and research has shown that while most of us support organ donation and the overwhelming majority would take an organ if we needed it, there’s still some way to go in getting people to sign up.”
Currently 346 people from Greater Manchester are waiting for a kidney, 13 for a kidney or pancreas, four for a heart, 20 for lungs and 23 for a liver.
To register call 0300 1232323 or go to organdonation.nhs.uk.