Sunday, 25 January 2015

In the News

There has been quite a bit in the news this week about Organ Donation as it was announced the government are to add opportinities to enable people sign up to the Organ Donor Register on various government forms as well as driving licences - passports, voting registration forms and oyster cards.

I think this is a great idea and a good way forward to remind people about Organ Donation and help trigger them to sign up there and then, rather than them thinking it's a good idea, but I'll do it later. Often people just then put it off, don't think about it again and they don't bother to get round to signing up even though they are quite happily in favour of it.

I believe systems like this really do work. This last week Rob and I visited John Henry Newman School in Stevenage to do a talk to the Year Thirteen groups on Organ Donation. Rob asked them at the outset how many of them were on the register and about 40% of them were already signed up. Many of them explained it was because they had done so when they applied for their driving licences, which just highlights that this type of system really does work.

We focussed our talk about what it is like to wait, and that three people die a day while they wait for a transplant. I told them my story of waiting for two years and what it felt like and then we went on to talk about our dear friend Stacie, who has now been waiting for her new heart and lungs for nearly three years. Stacie recorded a video clip, which really helped. We thought they would be able to identify the situation better with a person similar in age. Stacie had only posted on her facebook page that week how she had been waiting for a 1000 days. 3000 people will have lost their lives during the time Stacie has waited, which really brings it home how tragic a situation it is that only a third of us are yet signed up to the organ donor register.

Because many of them had already signed up to the register, we had a discussion on the importance of chatting to your family about your Organ Donation wishes and the significant impact this has on helping families making those hard decisions when they are faced with such a harrowing situations.

At the end of the session, we had quite a good response and quite a few pupils came and signed up there and then. We will just be pleased if our talk has inspired them to go home and discuss their Organ Donation wishes with their families.

Also in the news was the story about the parents of a new born baby, unfortunately their baby didn't survive, but the brave parents agreed to donate kidney and liver cells,which saved the lives of two other people. Another very significant step has been made to help increase the number of Organ Donors and save lives.

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