The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


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LTHT launches Be A Hero 'Yorkshire to 50k' challenge

Monday 14th August 2017

Be A Hero, Yorkshire’s dedicated organ donation charity based at LTHT, has today launched a challenge to increase the number of registered organ donors in Yorkshire by 50,000 in just six months.

The ‘Yorkshire to 50k’ challenge will be launched to the public on the first day of Organ Donation Week (4th – 8th September 2017) at a 24-hour pedal power event joined by British Cycling’s Head Sprint Coach and liver transplant recipient, Justin Grace, in Victoria Gardens (near the Art Gallery) in Leeds.

The campaign is appealing to the public to support the event which will see up to six static bikes powering a seven-foot-tall inflatable heart from 10am on Monday 4th September to 10am on Tuesday 5th September.

Yorkshire residents will need to pedal through day and night to keep Yorkshire’s heart inflated for 24 hours. Justin Grace, who received a liver transplant in 2016, will set the pace to celebrate how important his transplant was in allowing him to continue the sport he loves. He will be joined by Team GB’s Katy Marchant from Leeds, who won bronze in the sprint cycle at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Currently only around a third* of people in Yorkshire have registered a wish to donate organs after their death - whilst there are nearly 500 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant in our region.

Dr Justin McKinlay, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation in Yorkshire and Consultant Anaesthetist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, explains; “We have set ourselves the ambitious challenge of inspiring an additional 50,000 Yorkshire residents to sign the organ donation register in six months and are appealing to the good people of Yorkshire to come together and do something heroic for the region. The Be A Hero campaign highlights that you don’t have to be a superhero to save a life – we can all be heroes, just as we can all find ourselves in the position where we too need a hero.

“One person has the remarkable ability to save up to nine lives by donating their organs when they die. If we can inspire 50,000 people to sign the donor register, we can ensure a brighter future for the people of Yorkshire, and beyond, who are awaiting a life changing transplant.

“We are appealing to Yorkshire businesses, individuals and families to support our 24-hour cycling event during Organ Donation Week. Whether you can contribute just 30 minutes or longer to the cause, we need you to join us in keeping Yorkshire’s heart pumping as we pedal through the night, accompanied by courageous transplant patients, the clinical team and our celebrity ambassadors”.

Justin Grace received a liver transplant at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in November 2016. He adds: “I hope the proud people of Yorkshire will come together to help get Yorkshire to 50,000 new registered donors and support our 24-hour cycling challenge. If each of us can inspire just one friend or family member to sign the register, it’ll go a long way to saving lives in the future.”

The Be A Hero campaign has also released figures in advance of Organ Donation Week showing that in 2016/17, 115 people in Yorkshire donated organs after their death. Between them, these people donated over 300 organs so that others might receive a life changing transplant. In Leeds alone, 28 remarkable individuals donated organs after their death. Because of the altruism of these donors and their families, 81 patients received a life changing transplant, some receiving a much needed multi-organ transplant.

To volunteer to participate in the ‘Yorkshire to 50k’ 24-hour cycling event and to find out more about organ donation, please visit www.leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero. You can also sign up to the donor register by calling 0300 123 23 23.

You can make a charitable donation to the Be A Hero campaign, which raises awareness of organ donation within Yorkshire, by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bahy1