An encouraging 158 people from Dumfries and Galloway signed-up to save lives in just two days as an organ donation tour hit the region.
Visiting Morrisons in Stranraer and the Loreburn Shopping Centre, specialist staff were on hand to talk to locals about organ donation and encourage them to join the two million other Scots already on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
The 40-date tour is part of the national campaign, which highlights how the seven words ‘I’d like to be an organ donor’ can save up to seven lives.
To date, 36 per cent of people living in the NHS Dumfries and Galloway Health Board region have expressed their wishes by adding their name to the Register – compared to the national average sign-up rate of 41 per cent.
However with three people dying in the UK every day whilst waiting on a transplant, the campaign is calling for more people to think about organ donation and make their wishes known.
Rosie Rutherford, Chair of NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Organ Donation Committee said: “As Chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Organ Donation Committee I would encourage everyone to sign up to the organ donor register. Around 90
Per cent of the population support organ donation but in D&G we only have about 1 in 3 people signed up. We need to make donation ‘usual, not unusual’.
“In a relatively small hospital like DGRI, organ donation will always be unusual because the situations in which it can be considered are uncommon. When a patient has expressed a desire to donate their organs in the unfortunate event of their death, it is our responsibility to try and make sure that this happens, so we need those who are signed up to make sure they have discussed their wishes with their families. It is easy to sign up online.”
John Forsythe, Scotland’s Lead Clinician for Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “In our society, nobody likes talking about death. It’s a taboo subject. However those who have elected to join the NHS Organ Donor Register or who have made their families aware of their organ donation wishes, make a most generous decision which allows others to live.
“Due to the generosity of the Scottish people, organ donor numbers are increasing and allowing more life-saving transplants to take place. But there is much still to do as people wait on lists for their chance to get a transplant.
“Please think about what you would want to happen to you, add your name to the Register and, as the ad says, have a wee chat to your family too.”
Join the NHS Organ Donor Register - www.organdonationscotland.org or text LIFE to 61611. It only takes a few minutes but could mean the difference between life and death for those waiting for a transplant.