The Bolton News’s Sign Up To Save Lives campaign is calling for an extra 5,000 people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register. Here's everything you need to know to make an informed choice.
Each year in the UK 3,000 people receive a transplant thanks to the generosity of organ donors and their families.
The first successful kidney transplant was in 1954. The first heart transplant took place in 1967.
Transplants are very successful and the number of people needing a transplant is expected to rise steeply due to an ageing population, an increase in kidney failure and scientific advances mean that more people are now able to benefit from a transplant.
Despite this, there is a serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number waiting for a transplant is increasing.
Every day three people die while waiting for an organ transplant and many others lose their lives before they even get on to the transplant list.
Kidneys, heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and the small bowel can all be transplanted.
Tissue donation is the gift of tissue such as corneas, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and heart valves to help others.
The first successful cornea transplant was in 1905. Each year, thousands of people with a severe eye disease or injury have their sight restored by donated corneas.
Bone, tendons and cartilage are used for reconstruction after an injury or during joint replacement surgery. A bone transplant can prevent limb amputation in patients suffering from bone cancer.
Heart valves are used to help children born with heart defects and adults with diseased or damaged valves. Skin grafts are used to treat people with severe burns.
The NHS organ donor register is a confidential, computerised database which holds the wishes of more than 16 million people who have decided that, after their death, they want to leave a legacy of life for others. The register is used to help establish whether a person wanted to donate and, if so, what.
Last year 20 people from Bolton and Greater Manchester died waiting for a transplant.
There are currently 340 people in Bolton and Greater Manchester waiting for a transplant.
In the UK between April, 2012, and March, 2013, there were 4,212 organ transplants carried out in the UK from 2,313 donors.
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