Hundreds of people in Yorkshire face a long and life-threatening wait for an organ transplant, after it emerged only around 100 people in the county donated organs last year.
The Yorkshire Post can reveal that the latest figures show there are approximately 800 people on the transplant waiting list in the county at present. Every day three people nationally die waiting for a transplant.
Average waiting times in Yorkshire for liver transplants are 25 per cent longer than the national average at around 222 days, while the average wait for a kidney transplant in the White Rose is a staggering 1,114 days.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH), Yorkshire’s leading transplant centre, is urging more residents to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register after only 114 people in the county donated organs in 2014/15.
The YP has teamed up with the trust to launch its landmark ‘Be A Hero’ campaign today in which we aim to urge Yorkshire residents to become everyday heroes by signing up to the register while showcasing some of the heroic, lifesaving actions of donor families in our region.
Dr Simon Flood, a clinical lead for organ donation at LTH, said: “Sadly there are still approximately 800 people in Yorkshire waiting for a transplant. Just one organ donor can transform the lives of up to nine people and if more families felt sure of their loved one’s wishes to be a donor, more lives could be saved.”
The lifesaving actions of the 114 Yorkshire donors gave 294 desperately ill patients organs last year. Nationally around 10,000 people are in need of a transplant.
A donor, someone who agrees to donate their organs to others after death, can help up to nine people by donating their heart, lungs, two kidneys, pancreas, liver and small bowel and can restore the sight of two people by donating their corneas.
As part of Be A Hero we will be publishing the stories of the brave families who have agreed to donation in difficult circumstances, those saved by the actions of others and of families facing the agonising wait for a transplant.
Dr Flood added: “I hope our Be A Hero campaign will inspire families to have a discussion about their wishes around organ donation. It would be fantastic if the generosity of Yorkshire people meant that in Yorkshire, those who need a transplant get one in time.”
The Leeds Transplant Centre at LTH has been providing complex organ transplants for Yorkshire for over 25 years. It is the third largest liver transplant unit in the UK, a leading centre for ‘live related’ transplants and a regional centre for renal transplants.
Jeremy Clifford, editorial director of The YP, said: “Our area’s organ donation statistics are truly shocking and the issue is something we strongly believe needs highlighting. We are happy to be able to support Be A Hero and would urge all Yorkshire residents to learn more and potentially make a decision that could save several lives.”
We’re urging residents to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register and become a hero.
To raise the profile of Be A Hero we’re also urging workplaces and communities to support the campaign through anything from putting up a Be A Hero poster to hosting a superhero day. You can even download a #BeAHero mask from leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero and tweet your superhero selfies to @YorkshirePost and @LTHTrust using the hashtag #BeAHero.
Supporters can also send #BeAHero messages of support to facebook.com/yorkshirepost.newspaper or send their tales of organ donation via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.