I wish to begin this column by thanking everyone that has supported the Nottingham University Hospitals ‘Be a Hero’ campaign, which launched on January 1 2013.
As I am sure many of you do, I use the end of the year as an opportunity for reflection and celebration of everything that I have done, and consider what I’d like to achieve for the year ahead. The one success that I am immensely proud of in 2013 is the response to the campaign, which asked people to consider whether they would like to help other people after they die through the gift of organ donation.
Back in January, I hoped the programme would be successful, but I did not anticipate how well it would be received.
Between January 1 and December 31, 33 people have saved and transformed the lives of 71 people, and thousands more have signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. I am so pleased for the recipients of these transplants, and hope that they were able to enjoy Christmas with their loved ones without the restrictions that chronic illness may have imposed upon their lives.
However, I also take time to think about the families of the 33 people that gave such an amazing gift and hope they are able to take comfort from knowing what a difference their loved one has made to so many lives.
Despite this amazing success, there are 170 people in the East Midlands awaiting an organ transplant. I wish them well in 2014 and hope that they receive the transplants they so desperately need.
2014 is a special year for NUH as it marks the 40th anniversary of the first organ transplant being carried out here. In that time, more than 1700 people have received a kidney and in 2013, more than 100 such operations were carried out.
We would like this figure to continue to rise and to do that we need more people to tell their loved ones about their organ donation decision and to sign up to the register.
The New Year is a time for happiness and celebrations, and traditionally a time where many people spend time with families, friends and loved ones. Whilst organ donation seems like a difficult subject to talk about, especially perhaps at this time, I do urge people to take this opportunity to talk about your wishes. This discussion now will not be anywhere near as difficult as it would be for your family to have to make the decision themselves should the worst happen. If you believe in organ donation and do not tell your family, there is a real chance that we will not be able to fulfil your wishes, as many families say no to donation when a person’s wish is not known to them.
On behalf of all the donor team in Nottingham, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year.