BOLTONIANS have thrown their weight behind The Bolton News’ Sign Up To Save Lives Campaign — with more than 1,500 of you pledging to become organ donors.
Now we need more of you to sign up for a Donor Card to smash our target of 5,000 new people on the NHS Organ Donor Register ahead of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in August.
Since January this year, 1,525 people have signed up, but with more than 60 people desperately in need of an organ donation in the town, charity chiefs say it is vital people continue to back the campaign.
Andrew Eddy, chairman of Transplant Sport, said his life was transformed when he had a liver transplant five years ago.
Mr Eddy has urged others to follow the example of those people who have already signed up to the register.
He said: “It’s really important that people sign up to the organ donor register as well as sharing their wishes with family and loved ones.
“Three people die every day through a lack of available organs and we can make such a difference by giving the gift of life.
“It isn’t hard. There are forms available online and crucially people need to let their loved ones know what they would want to happen after they die.
“I became involved in transplant sport when I needed a liver transplant five years ago following a long illness and without that amazing gift that my donor and their family gave to me, I wouldn’t be around today.
“It’s not just about me but everyone around me. I am the father of two young children who have a fit and healthy dad because of that gift.
“I want to say thank you to the people of Bolton for all their support in signing up so far and I want to say come on to everyone else who can help us reach that 5,000 total.”
People waiting for a transplant have had their lives put on hold and rely on drugs and medical interventions to keep them alive until a suitable organ match can be found.
Dr Stephen Liversedge, clinical director of primary care and health improvement at Bolton CCG, has also backed the campaign.
Dr Liversedge said: “Organ donation is a complex issue. I can understand why people might not want to walk round with a donor card with them.
“A lot of the time a donation is the consequence of a tragic accident and that can make people feel uncomfortable.
“This is why it is so important that people let their relatives know about their wishes as well as signing up to the register, because it is the relatives who have the final say.
“If they know that person’s wishes about specifically what they would like to donate — should they choose to — it makes the decision much easier for relatives at a very difficult time.
“It is also important that people consider signing up to become a bone marrow donor and support the blood transfusion service.
“These are equally as important as organ donation.”
Also backing the campaign is Natalie Kerr, who had a life-saving double-lung transplant in 2012, and who will be taking part in the British Transplant Games in Bolton later this year.
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games will take place in Bolton from August 7 to August 14.
To Sign Up to Save Lives, go to the NHS organ donor register at organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 1232323 or text SAVE to 62323.