Transplanting a new lease of life

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We would like to bring to the attention of your readers that July 9-15 is National Transplant Week.

The campaign theme this year is Pass it On, focusing not just on signing up to the organ donor register, but also the importance of passing on your donation wishes to family and friends so they know what you would like to happen after your death. If you join the register without telling the people closest to you, it may come as a surprise at a time when they are trying to deal with their loss.

Sadly, many people have not recorded their wishes about donation or discussed it with their families. In the UK organs and tissue from a potential donor will only be used if that is their wish.

Putting your name on the register makes it easier for the NHS to establish your wishes and for those closest to you in life to follow them. If your wishes are not clear, the person closest to you in life will be asked what they think you would have wanted, so it is important that you make sure they are aware of your views.

Transplants are very successful, but the number of people needing a transplant is expected to rise. Organ transplantation is one of our modern-day miracles of medicine, but it depends entirely on the generosity of donors and their families who are willing to make this life-saving gift to others, enabling more than 3,000 people in the UK every year to take on a new lease of life.

We are extremely pleased that Scotland continues to lead the way. Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced the wonderful news that the number of people north of the border who have signed up to be organ donors has reached a record high of more than two million – almost 40 per cent of the population, compared to that of the rest of the UK which stands at 30 per cent.

The tragic fact is that more than 600 people in Scotland are still waiting for a life-saving transplant and across the UK three people die every day because they don’t get the organ they need in time.

Our 15-year old son, Aaron, was fortunate to have received a life-saving combined liver and small bowel transplant 11 years ago. He attends Birmingham Children’s Hospital liver unit every year for routine investigations.

Everyone, irrespective of age or health, can register. Children can register, but their parents, guardians or those with parental responsibility will be asked to provide their consent. There are currently more than 600,000 under-16s on the NHS organ donor register.

Our son Aaron is one of the lucky ones. His life was saved when an amazing mother, on the tragic and untimely death of her child, donated his organs. Not only was our son’s life saved, but that of three others were too. Aaron has a wonderful quality of life, enjoying an active lifestyle. He will be competing once again at the British Transplant Games, to be held this year in Medway, Kent, between the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.

You can register by calling the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23, or simply by texting the word SAVE to 61611, or fill in the online form via the website http://www.organdonationscotland.org

We will not be holding our usual annual tables in the town this year, but if anyone wishes a chat about organ donation or simply wishes some information, we have a plentiful supply of leaflets, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Gray family

41 Connor Street

Peebles