Join The Journey cycle ride for organ donation week culminates in Leeds
6 September 2019
With Organ Donation Week 2019 drawing to a close, Yorkshire’s dedicated organ donation campaign, Be A Hero, celebrated the end of the awareness drive at the iconic Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds today.
The Join the Journey cycle ride saw three teams depart from Salford Royal Foundation Trust this morning and travel to one of three regional transplant centres, including Manchester Royal Infirmary, which specialises in kidney and pancreas transplants, Wythenshawe Hospital, a specialist in heart and lung transplants, and St James's Hospital, which is home to a liver and kidney transplant unit.
The cycle route symbolises the journey that donor organs take when they leave Salford Royal Foundation Trust and are transported to recipients waiting for an often life-saving operation.
Raynie Carson, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at Salford Royal, said: “Organ donation is a journey in itself – one of grief, emotion, new beginnings and lives saved.
“There are thousands of people around the country on the transplant waiting list and while most people support organ donation in principle, only a third have actually signed the organ donor register.
“Families will always be asked to support someone’s wishes to be an organ donor so it’s vital that people speak to their loved ones about their decision, in order to ensure their choices in life are honoured after they have passed away.”
Next year, the law around organ donation is changing in England. From spring 2020, adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs, unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. Even after the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before any transplant goes ahead.
A recent survey of adults in England by NHS Blood and Transplant found that while 84% agreed it was important to let those closest to you know your views on organ donation, only 40% had shared their organ donation decision with their family or partner.
More and more families in Leeds are saying yes to organ donation but there is still an urgent shortage of donors. In Leeds, 31 families made the brave decision to donate their loved one’s organs in 2018/19. This included 27 donors at Leeds General Infirmary and four at St James’s University Hospital. Leeds Teaching Hospitals is now asking people across the region to tell their families they want to donate to help make sure more lives are saved.
During Organ Donation Week, the Be A Hero campaign, which was launched by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in 2015, has continued to raise awareness of organ donation and inspire Yorkshire residents to share their organ donation wishes through events in the city. The campaign aims to increase the number of registered organ donors in the region, contributing to providing lifesaving transplants to the 497 people on the transplant waiting list in Yorkshire.