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The Balloon Lady speaks out for the Organ Donor Register

nhs blood and transplantnhs blood and transplantAs the first multimedia campaign to promote organ donation rolls out across the UK , new research reveals the gap between what we would take and what we are prepared to give.  While 96% of us would accept an organ if we needed one, only 28% of people in the South have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).
 
There are currently 525 people waiting for an organ transplant in the South, with 22 people dying last year whilst waiting for an organ. There are 1,176,425 people on the organ donation register in the South. 
 
Many of us (45%) have the best intentions to sign up to the ODR and commit to donate our organs for transplantation after our death, but just haven’t got round to it.
While some people are still unclear about how to register, a significant proportion of us (17%) are ready to act now.  A further 19% need to involve their family in the decision.  The campaign aims to increase significantly the number of people on the ODR, asking what we would do if someone we love needed an organ:  if we would accept an organ, shouldn’t we be prepared to give one? 
 
The gap highlighted by organ donation is mirrored by similar findings, which show that it’s not just the big things we’re prepared to take without returning the favour.  56% of people in the South would accept a lift without offering one in return; 54% would borrow books, but haven’t lent their own.  This lack of reciprocity is echoed in our daily life, where we intend to follow through on our best intentions without getting round to it: 23% of people in the South intend to volunteer (above the national average of 22%), go to the gym (34%) and 22% want to go on a diet, but haven’t done so yet.
 
More than 10,000 people in the UK overall currently need a transplant.  Of these, over 1,000 – on average 3 a day – die every year before they receive an organ.
 
Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said:  “Many people have told us that they just need a nudge to motivate them to join the Organ Donor Register and commit to helping someone live after their death.  By focusing on the gap between the number of us who say we would accept an organ if we needed on and the number who have actually joined the Register, our campaign highlights the urgent need for those who believe in organ donation to act now.
 
“More transplants were carried out last year than ever before, but the need for organs never stops.  If you believe in organ donation, please register today and let those closest to you know that you have done so.”
 
Welcoming the campaign, Health Secretary Andy Burnham said: "Each year, organ donors transform the lives of thousands of people.  But despite this, three people die every day while waiting for a transplant. More people are signing up to the Organ Donor Register than ever before, but many more are needed.
 
"Most of us support organ donation and the overwhelming majority would take an organ if we needed it. I would urge everybody who supports organ donation to show it by signing up to the Organ Donor Register and discussing their wishes with their families."
 
Penny Hart, from Swerford near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, the Balloon Lady, www.balloonlady.co.uk who received a set of lungs, said:  "My own story is simple - I am 64 and had a double lung transplant in March 2008 as I had been suffering from emphysema for about 20 years.  Over the last few years it had gradually goet worse until 2 years ago I couldn't do any of the normal things we take for granted - couldn't wash, bath, shower, make a cup of tea (kettle was too heavy)   I relied on oxygen 24 hours a day and even with its help I could only walk for about 3 - 4 paces before having to rest and recover, it took between 15 and 45 minutes to get upstairs and without the transplant I would not have been alive today to ask for your help !
 
Today life is completely different and beyond my wildest imaginings !  I can walk 3 - 4 miles happily, I do all the normal things like cooking meals, housework and most important I am working again !  I have done many things this year which I always intended  to do (but never got around to)  We have been able to go to the theatre again, to shows (highlights Joseph and Hairspray) to concerts (highlights Take That Tour as we supplied all their balloons and Andrea Bocelli)  Every day is full and exciting. 
 
My family also have their lives back and no longer have to put everything on hold to look after me - a transplant doesn't just affect the life of the patient but their extended family and friends - probably hundreds of people.
 
All this has happened because of someone I never met, but fortunately she had made her wishes known to her family as well as registering as a donor.  I expect that other families have had similar benefits from her other organs. I shall never be able to tell her how grateful I am to her but on behalf of the 10,000 people who are waiting and hoping for a transplant and for the three people who die each day whilst waiting, I can ask that the vast majority of our population (96%) who say they would be willing to donate their organs would please register today and then tell their nearest and dearest their wishes.  It's the sort of thing we all mean to do but don't get around to ! 
If you believe in organ donation, prove it."

 It’s simple to join the ODR by:
 
·         going to www.organdonation.nhs.uk
·         ringing 0300 123 23 23
·         texting SAVE to 84118

Anyone can register on the ODR.  Age isn’t a barrier to being an organ or tissue donor and neither are most medical conditions.  People in their 70s and 80s have become donors and saved many lives.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a Special Health Authority in the NHS.  It is the organ donation organisation for the UK, with responsibility for matching and allocating donated organs.  Its remit also includes the provision of a safe, sufficient supply of blood and associated services to the NHS.

The NHS Organ Donor Register records the details of people who have registered their wishes to donate organs and/or tissue after their death for transplantation.  This information is used by authorised medical staff to establish whether a person wanted to donate.

Source: NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) 
            Penny Hart (The Balloon Lady)

www.balloonlady.co.uk

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