Tuesday, October 12, 2010
INTERNATIONAL ORGAN DONATION AWARENESS - UNITED KINGDOM
10,000 join Lifesavers organ donor campaign
By Gavin Aitchison » THE PRESS
MORE than 10,000 organ heroes from our region have pledged to become Lifesavers since The Press launched its campaign, new official figures have shown.
But the need for donors is now getting even more desperate – after the number of people needing transplants rose by nearly a quarter in only four months.
Transplant recipients, NHS staff and those awaiting organs today celebrated the 10,000 milestone and thanked those who had signed up – but appealed to the hundreds of thousands out there who have still not done so to come forward.
Dan Skelton, 22, of Helmsley, who has been waiting for a kidney transplant for six months, said he was now only a couple of months off needing to go on dialysis after his kidney function fell to only 11 per cent.
“I would urge everyone to consider going on the Organ Donor Register,” he said.
“It could transform my life and the lives of other people like me.”
Dan said that because he had a particular kidney disease called Focal Segmental Glomeruli Sclerosis (FSGS), he could not receive a kidney from a relative and so was dependent on the register.
Claire Davies, 35, of Acomb, whose life has been transformed since she underwent a heart transplant just over a year ago, said: “Please, if you have been thinking of joining the register but haven’t got round to it, make the phone call or visit the website, and talk to your relatives as well.
“I suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which thickens heart muscles, and once struggled to even get out of bed.
“The transplant has saved my life but also given me a better quality of life than I have had since I was about 13. As many people as possible are needed on the register if others are to enjoy the benefits that I have.”
Officials from NHS Blood and Transplant say there are now 254,640 people in our region on the Organ Donor Register – a rise of 10,536 since we launched our Lifesavers campaign last December.
But while the number of registered donors has risen, so too has demand.
Statistics show 50 transplants have been carried out in our region since April, but there are still 99 people in the area awaiting transplants – up from 81 in June.
The vast majority, 83, are waiting for kidneys, up from 62.
Joanne Turner, York Hospital’s donor transplant co-ordinator, said: “It really is encouraging to know that so many people have joined the Organ Donor Register since the beginning of the Lifesavers campaign last year.
“It is so important for people to think about organ donation and join the Organ Donor Register if they support the idea of donation. It is so easy to join the register now, so if you support organ donation register your wishes today”
• The Press launched its Lifesavers campaign last December, following the death of Miss York finalist and cystic fibrosis sufferer Emma Young, 22, who died while awaiting a double lung transplant.
We aimed to raise awareness of organ donation and to recruit 20,000 new donors by the end of 2010, although sign-up rates nationally dipped earlier this year, following a short-term blunder with registrations.
• Joining the Organ Donor Register or getting more information could scarcely be easier. Simply: Phone 0300 1232323, visitorgandonation.nhs.uk or text SAVE to 84118