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Liverpool buildings to light up for Organ Donation Week

9 months ago

Liverpool buildings to light up for Organ Donation Week

It might sound impossible, but taking two minutes out of your day now could save nine lives in the future.

That’s the number of people who could potentially be helped to survive with organs donated from just one person.

And in Organ Donation Week next week – September 18-24 – NHS teams from across the UK are asking people to consider registering to donate their organs – and have that vital conversation with those close to them.

Buildings in Liverpool City Centre will also light up pink to raise awards of Organ Donation Week.

“The more people who register to become an organ donor, the more lives are going to be saved,” says Laura Winn-Jones, specialist nurse for organ donation at North West Organ Donation Services. “There are currently 7,000 people waiting for organs.

“So we want to raise awareness of the ongoing need for donors, and ask people to consider taking two minutes now to register to become an organ donor after they die.

“We don’t like talking about death,” she adds, “but having that thought or that conversation now means their wishes can be respected in the future.

Organ Donation Week

“It is such a positive thing to do. And can make a huge difference.” 

Throughout Organ Donation Week organisations are being encouraged to light buildings up in pink, and people are being encouraged to wear pink – or dye their hair pink – the colour of the Organ Donation logo to highlight what is a vital issue.

Laura, who’s based at the Royal Liverpool and Aintree University Hospitals, will be heading into Liverpool town centre with friend and fellow specialist nurse Catherine Ellis, to encourage everyone to think about being a donor and talking about the emotional subject with those around them.

She says: “There will be promotional stands across different NHS organisations across the North West and specialist nurses will be promoting organ donation and answering questions. 

“There is the new opt-out law (which says people’s organs can be donated unless they specifically say it’s not their wish) but that is a soft law change, and we try to ask people to still confirm their own decision via the organ donation register and to talk about it with their families.

“We would always speak to families prior to making this important decision, but people often don’t have a clue what their loved one wanted.

Organ Donation Week

“So it gives them a helping hand at such a sad time. 

“A family member saying yes for their loved one to becoming an organ donor at a time of immense grief is very difficult, and in an ideal world no-one wants to leave that conversation until then.”

Although Laura stresses: “Our families whose loved ones have gone on to become organ donors tell us afterwards that it has become a great comfort, and they feel pride that they have become heroes who have saved lives.

“That’s why we are asking people to take a moment and consider confirming their support for being an organ donor.”

Although there are 7,000 people on the transplant list, there are only 1,400 donors every year which means many lives are lost, or people continue to live limited lives, often undergoing regular treatment like, for kidney patients, dialysis.

Organs which can be used are the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and pancreas, as well as tissue donation which can be skin, eyes, and bone.

Organ Donation Week

“What people often don’t realise is that to become an organ donor you have to die within a critical care setting which is a very small amount of situations. So when people die and their organs can be used, it’s often in tragic circumstances; but because of that, relatives can get comfort from the fact that that person has not died in vain and can go on to help many more people.

“It doesn’t make their sadness any less, but over time it gives them great comfort.

“If you can respect someone’s end of life wish it’s an amazing thing to do, and to help someone else to live is incredible.”

Laura says: “Some families say it’s hard when they don’t know their loved one’s end of life decision, so confirming your choice to become an organ donor with your family or signing up to the register, can make a difficult and tragic situation a little bit easier.”

To find out more about Organ Donation Week or to become an organ donor, register at organdonation.nhs.uk and share it: @NHSOrganDonor #OrganDonationWeek.

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