TODAY The Bolton News launches an appeal urging people to sign up and save a life.
We are aiming to get 5,000 to pledge to sign up to the organ donor register.
Sixty two people in Bolton are desperately in need of an organ donation.
They 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.
There are currently 67,490 people from Bolton on the organ donor register.
But we want thousands more to sign up. The more people on the register, the more opportunities there are to help those who need an operation.
The campaign has been launched in the same year that Westfield Health British Transplant Games are due to be held in Bolton this August.
One woman who knows the importance of signing up to the organ donor register is former Royal Bolton Hospital nurse Natalie Kerr.
The mum-of-two underwent a double lung transplant.
Ms Kerr said: “I know how precious life can be and how much an organ donation can change people’s lives. It’s not just the person who needs the donation whose life is transformed, it’s their families, too.
“It really is the most amazing gift and I am truly grateful for the lungs I was given. It was like winning the lottery.
“I really urge everyone to get behind this campaign and sign up for the organ donor register.”
The Bolton News will be speaking to inspirational transplant survivors like Natalie, including those who will be taking part in the games, patients on the transplant waiting list and families who took the brave step to donate a loved one’s organs to improve the lives of others.
In just 12 months, 35 people from Bolton have received donor organs — but over the past five years, 22 local people have died while waiting for a transplant.
The campaign has won the backing of national organ donor chiefs and transplant specialists who carry out the life-saving procedures in the North West.
A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said; “We are delighted to back this campaign which is encouraging people in Bolton to support organ donation.
“In the UK last year, more than 1,000 people helped others after their death by donating organs.
“But to help the 10,000 people in the UK currently in need of a transplant, it is vital the number of donations increases.
“You can show your support for organ donation by signing up to the organ donor register and discussing your wishes with those close to you.”
The Transplant Games, which have been held annually since 1978, will take place at various locations throughout Bolton.
Team members will be competing in sports including swimming, running, archery, golf and fishing.
The games are designed to raise awareness of the benefits of transplants, and the importance of people signing up to become new donors.
Ian Savage, editor in chief of The Bolton News, said: “As Bolton will be hosting the British Transplant Games in the summer, this is the perfect opportunity for anyone who has not signed up to the organ donor register to do so.
“It is so important that as many people as possible consider joining the register. The difference an organ transplant can make to someone’s life is immense and we are proud to launch this campaign.
“I am sure there are many who would have no problem signing up, but for whatever reason, have never got round to doing so.
“Now is the time to rectify that and join our campaign.”
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.
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