FAMILIES across the Fylde coast are being encouraged to talk about organ donation by NHS Blood and Transplant.
The body is urging more people to tell their families that they want to save lives through donation during Organ Donation Week.
Over the past year, 30 people in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have had their lives saved or transformed thanks to deceased organ donors from across the UK.
However, there are 55 people currently in the borough who need a lifesaving organ transplant. They need people to say yes to organ donation so they can get the organ they so desperately need.
Lee Coulthard, a specialist organ donation nurse at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s tragic that so many people have died waiting for a transplant – what is shocking is that many of those lives could have been saved had more families agreed to donate organs.
“People are dying every day because some families are not talking about donation. We need more families to say yes to organ donation, so that more lives can be saved.”
Jo Haythornthwaite from Lytham, whose husband John donated his organs almost 10 years ago, has backed the call.
Jo, who chairs the Trust’s Organ Donation Committee and was a major influence in the decision to erect a statue to commemorate organ donors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital recently, said: “When I was approached about organ donation I knew it was the right thing to do and his memory lives on in the seven people who benefited from his organs.
“John left a wonderful legacy and for the seven people who benefited from his organs it was the beginning of a new life for them.’’
Although the numbers of donors is increasing and waiting lists reducing, 6,000 people around the UK remain in need of a transplant.
Last year 254 people in the north west region, had their lives saved by a transplant.
To join the millions already on the NHS Organ Donor Register visit organdonation.nhs.uk.
How do I register to become an organ donor?
Registering to become an organ donor only takes a few minutes.
To become a donor, visit the NHS organ donation website and fill out a quick form, giving your personal details and explaining which organs and tissues you would like to donate.
Once this has been submitted, your preferences will be added to the NHS Organ Donation Register by the NHS and you’ll receive your organ donation card through the post.
Is there an age limit for organ donation?
The NHS has no age limit for organ donors.
For a child to register to be an organ donor, they must have a parent or guardian’s consent after they die or until they’re of the legal age of consent.
Anyone over 80 years old is not eligible for cornea donation and anyone over 60 years old is not eligible for heart valves and tendons donations.
What can I donate?
Your organs and tissues can be used for:
- Kidney donation
- Heart donation
- Liver donation
- Lung donation
- Pancreas donation
- Small bowel donation
- Cornea donation
- Tissue and bone donation
Living donations include living kidney and liver donation and living bone and amniotic membrane donation.
How do I know if I’m eligible to become an organ donor?
Most people will be eligible for an organ donation, but the NHS does have certain requirements.
- Race and skin colour:although there are successful transplants between people of different ethnic groups, people from the same ethnic groups are more likely to be a close match.
- Screening:your blood will be tested for transmittable diseases including HIV and hepatitis, although if you are HIV positive, you may be able to donate to someone who already has HIV.
- Existing medical conditions:you cannot be a donor if you have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or cancer that has spread in the last 12 months
Visit the NHS organ donation website for more information on eligibility.