Organ Donation and the Organ Donor Register

Why on earth is this page on the website?

Life can throw the unexpected at all of us. Some years back I was informed that my kidneys were failing rapidly and that I needed a transplant. I was advised that if I was lucky, I might get a suitable match after around three years of struggling with ill health, but that it could be as long as ten years, if I survived that long.

My first thoughts? How this situation would affect Birgit and our families in an incredibly negative way. They would have to deal with the worry, the illnesses, the hospital visits and so much more. Life for affected families can become quite desperate.

My second thought was how lucky I was that I’d been able to travel and experience so much until this time in my life. ‘Live for the day for you never know what tomorrow will bring’ meant even more to me. But the thought of slowly becoming more and more ill and a burden, was a complete mind tease. I’ve had plenty of mishaps in life but every wobbly situation had turned into a silver lining event I cherish. But never being able to travel again…

I was hugely fortunate though. A match came up much faster than thought possible. As a result of one very forward thinking and kind man and his family, I was offered the chance of a transplant. I live on time they have gifted me.

Quite naturally, I feel passionate about this topic. I’m taking advantage of this page to share just a few facts with you. I hope you’ll bear with me and read on.

Questionnaires have shown that 96% of us would gratefully accept an organ if we needed one, but the reality is that only 27% of us have actually taken action. How about this for a statistic? One donor can save or greatly improve up to nine lives!

I wonder how this works in your country. All adults in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are now considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. If a person does not wish to be a part of this scheme, it’s very easy for them to opt out.

In addition, you can greatly increase the chance of your organs being used successfully by signing the organ donation register in your country, and by letting your family know your wishes. This makes the situation for them so much better when they are grieving. There’s less administrative hassle for them. By registering there’s a far greater chance that more of your organs can be used. Time is, of course, of the essence.

The NHS Organ Donor Register records the details of people who have registered their wishes to be an organ and/or tissue donor after their death. Anyone can register, and nowadays age isn’t a barrier. Even people in their 70s and 80s have become donors and have saved lives. The thing that surprised me was that most medical conditions don’t rule you out!

So go on. Please make wonderful things happen for so many people as a result of your death. Join the NHS register online or by calling 0300 123 2323. Please don’t become one of those people who ‘always meant to sign up, but never got round to it’.

Thank you for reading this far and for thinking seriously about registering.

I hope you live a long, happy and healthy life. I’m now living a great life thanks to a person like you! I wish I could explain what a difference has been made for me and everyone who is close to me. I am grateful for every day!