Sunday 13 July 2014

Are you on the organ donor register? - National Transplant Week.

Today is the last day of National Transplant Week.

This past week from the 7th to the 13th July 2014, National Transplant Week has been raising awareness of organ donation, saving lives and the Organ Donor Register.

Organ donation is a sensitive topic which is not often talked about especially amongst family as talking about the emotional scenario of loved ones dying and whether their organs are donated or not is often too difficult a thought to want to consider and discuss. 

Whilst organ donation is a sensitive and emotional subject the sad reality is awareness of organ donation needs to be raised and talked about as there is a desperate need for more people to register as organ donors to save lives.  In the UK there are many, many more people on the organ transplant waiting list than there are organs available for transplant.  Sadly due to a shortage of organ donors on average 3 people die every day whilst waiting for an organ transplant.

As transplants are successful and save lives for those people lucky enough to be matched with a donor in time, National Transplant Week aims to raise awareness of organ and tissue transplants, encourage people to discuss their wishes regarding organ donation with their families and highlight the need for more people to sign the Organ Donor Register.

The Organ Donor Register works on an opt-in basis which means you have to manually register your details to start saving lives.  To join the Organ Donor Register you can call the NHS donor line (0300 123 23 23) or register online at NHS Blood and Transplant organisation website.

Next year things are changing in Wales with how the Organ Donor Register works.  Wales will be the first UK country to introduce a soft opt-out system for organ and tissue donation.  In an effort to increase the number of organs and tissues available for transplant, hopefully raising the number of donors by an estimated 25%, the Human Transplantation Wales Act will come into force on the 1st December 2015.  

When the act comes into force people in Wales who have not registered a decision to opt-out of organ donation by the 1st December 2015 will be treated as if they have no objection to being an organ donor.  Those affected by the change of law in Wales when the act comes into force who do not want to be a donor have to register their decision not to be a donor (they have to opt-out).  For more information about Organ Donation in Wales, including how the law is changing Wales and who will be affected by the system change, please see the Organ Donation Wales website.

For me personally I have opted-in to be on the Organ Donation Register and have discussed my wishes with my family, so that if I were to die and my organs and/or tissue were considered suitable for transplant they would be they would be used to help save the life or lives of someone in need of a transplant.

Deciding whether or not to become a donor after you have died is a very personal decision.  To help decided whether organ and tissue donation is right for you there is a wealth of information available for you to read all about organ and tissue donation.  The Transplant Week website has a dedicated page of personal stories from donors and their families and a page filled with answers to the most commonly asked questions about organ and tissue donation.  The NHS Organ Donation website also has a dedicated Q&A page on organ and tissue donation along with information about how to become a donor and statistics about transplants.  Personal health care company Benenden have written an informative Organ Donation post with facts and statistics about organ donation to help raise awareness of organ and tissue donation for National Transplant Week.  Inspirational stories from families of those who have donated their organs as well as individuals whose lives have been transformed by the generosity of donation can be read on the Organ Donation Wales website where you can also get all the information about the new Human Transplantation Wales act

Other bloggers have also written about organ and tissue transplants to support National Transport Week a number of which have written personal stories surrounding organ and tissue transplantation.  A heartfelt and brave post can be read on Chasing Dragonflies, a courageous post can be read on Life is Worth the Fight, a passionate post can be read on Smile Through It and a success post can be read on Kath’s Transplant Blog.

If you want to help raise awareness of organ donation and save lives you can find social media images, statistical infographics and campaign posters on the Transplant Week Action Pack page.  You can also raise awareness using the #spellitout campaign hashtag.

Please think about whether you would like to donate or not.  If you do please sign the register and talk to your family and loved ones so that they know your decision.

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