A COUNCILLOR who has had three kidney transplants has implored people to sign the organ donor register during National Transplant Week — and tell relatives what they are doing.
National Transplant Week runs from today to July 13, with an event being hosted in Victoria Square tomorrow by New Start, a charity based in the transplant unit at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Bolton’s Conservative leader Cllr David Greenhalgh has undergone the transplants and is among supporters of The Bolton News’ campaign to encourage more people to sign the organ donor register.
His first transplant failed immediately while his second new kidney, which lasted six years, is still in his body, alongside his own two and one from his third transplant.
Cllr Greenhalgh said: “Obviously people are dying waiting for organs so as many people should sign up as soon as possible.
“But I think the message that has to be stressed is that people who are registered must have the conversation with their nearest and dearest about the plan.
"Relatives can override that decision and that means a lot of vital organs are not being used.
“It is a very distressing time for the family and they can override and say I don’t want that to happen.
“It is more important for that conversation to take place.”
He also said good intentions can be let down by “apathy” and people must make sure they find the five minutes it takes to register online.
He said: “I get mad if people say they will do it and do not get round to it.
“I’ve no problem with people saying it’s not for them, as it is a personal decision. But apathy means that organs we could be using are lost and that is a great tragedy.”
Cllr Greenhalgh said his own health is currently good, and it will be three years in September since he received his latest kidney.
Janice Taylor, from New Start, said: “The day is to raise awareness and to get as many people as possible to sign up the organ donor register.
“We will be there all day, with some patients who have received transplanted organs.”
Cllr Greenhalgh added: “One person can save about six lives. Dialysis treatment is so debilitating and a transplant can end that and transform somebody’s life.
“I hope there is a good turnout on Tuesday and lots of people sign up.
“There is no doubt that this is an important week.”
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.