Sunday, 6 July 2014

National Transplant Week 2014 #Spellitout

Today is the start of this year's National Transplant Week. Currently there are around 7000 seriously and terminally ill people waiting in hope for a life saving transplant. While they have to wait their condition needs to remain relatively stable or else it is likely they will become too sick to cope with a major transplant operation. 

Because there is a shortage of organ donors, the waiting time can be too long and some patients don't survive. Currently 3 people a day die while waiting for a transplant. I was one of the lucky ones and although I waited exactly 2 years, 1 week and 1 day, I got my life saving transplant. That means while I waited 2214 other patients lost their lives. Yes, absolutely shocking isn't it? 

One reason for the shortage of donors is that less than 30% of the population have actually signed up to be on the organ donor register, although over 90% of the population agree they would accept an organ if they needed a life saving operation. 

Family refusal for an organ donation to go ahead because families do not know their loved one's wishes is also a huge barrier too. When families have had the discussion and know their loved one's wishes then they are much more likely to consent to organ donation. Only 31% of families give consent in these conditions, whereas if families know their loved one's wishes this is raised to 90%. It is so important to let your families know your thoughts on organ donation and so important to get familes talking about organ donation, so the aim of this year's National Transplant Week is to 'Spell it Out' and get families having that 'discussion'.

We volunteered to help NHSBT with their campaign as they were looking for volunteers who have been 
deeply affected by organ donation and we had an interview with the Weekly News, which is a weekly national newspaper and our story was published in Saturday's edition, together with a piece from NHSBT and hopefully it will have reached a lot of readers and got them having that all important discussion. 

Last Friday we were invited to take part in a radio show about transplant at BBC 3 Counties Radio in Luton and tell our story about my illness and transplant. The show was broadcast on Sunday and featured others speaking about organ donation from NHSBT, University of Beds and also another transplant patient, who had received a kidney from her husband. It made an interesting programme highlighting many aspects about organ donation and transplant. Again, I hope it reached many listeners, who might now have that discussion with their families.

If you want to see my story, other real life transplant stories, find out more about National Transplant Week or register to be an organ donor click on the link below: 

Don't forget if you want to be an organ donor then tell your family! Spell it Out! 

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