Just 45% of families agree to organ donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s decision to be a donor but this figure rises to 95% when they know the decision; new figures out today show. To mark the start of this year’s National Transplant Week (July 7-13), NHS Blood and Transplant has enlisted the support of well-known faces to highlight the importance of telling family and friends your donation decision.
Katie Piper, Beth Tweddle, Ruth Langsford and Wil Johnson all appear in images that spell out their donation wishes to loves ones and urge the public to do the same. The aim of this year’s campaign is to get people to spell out their donation decision to increase awareness that families will be asked to agree to organ donation and to encourage more people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. Also pledging their support to the campaign are David Harewood, Dr Hilary Jones and Dr Ellie Cannon.
TV personality Katie Piper commented; “Letting your loved ones know you want to be an organ donor is so important. My cornea came from an organ donor and if he had not told his friends and family he wanted to be a donor, they might not have allowed donation to go ahead; meaning my life would be very different today.
“It is devastating for families when someone they love dies so it’s not fair to expect them to have to make the decision for you. If you talk openly to your family about your decision to donate your organs it could save them a great deal of stress when you die.”
On average 3 people a day die in need of an organ transplant in the UK because there aren’t enough organs available. More lives could potentially be saved if more families agreed to donate their loved ones organs after death. Despite the thousands of life-saving transplant operations which take place every year, around 10,000 people are currently in need of a lifesaving organ transplant.
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, added:
“We know that families are much less likely to allow organ donation to go ahead if they don’t know if it’s what their loved one wanted. So have the conversation and spell it out.
“Tell those closest to you that you want to donate your organs after you die to help some of the 10,000 people in the UK currently in need of a life changing organ transplant.”
For further information about National Transplant Week and to register your organ donation decision go to www.transplantweek.co.uk. Follow NHS Blood and Transplant on twitter @NHSOrganDonor and support us on Facebook www.facebook.com/organdonationukand remember to #spellitout.