It only takes two minutes and costs nothing but by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register you could be giving the greatest gift this Christmas – the gift of life.
Plymouth City Council is working with NHS Blood and Transplant and local NHS partners to promote organ donation throughout December, as part of the #TimeToSign campaign. The Council recently agreed a motion to increase the number of sign-ups in the city.
The campaign is being backed by a local man who received a kidney transplant 7 years ago after being on dialysis for several years and has won gold, silver and bronze medals in the Transplant Games. The campaign is also being supported locally by Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Livewell Southwest and other partners and will run until 31 December 2016.
Keith Parsons was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys, a hereditary condition, in 1995, and was then on dialysis from17 January 2007 to 28 December 2009, before an altruistic donor was found to be the near-perfect match and Keith had the transplant on 29 December 2009, and has gained a new lease of life.
Keith said: “The transplant, which was an act of kindness of a total stranger, and thanks to staff at Derriford, has made a massive difference to my life. I had always been into football but I had to give up 11 aside football. I was on dialysis for 23months and had to go to the hospital three times a week but since I had the transplant I’ve been able to manage it with medication and check-ups every three months.
“I took part in my first Transplant Games in 2010 and have since represented Derriford Hospital at 7 Westfield Health British Transplant Games, and one World Transplant Games in South Africa in 2013, where I won silver for Long Jump”.
“I take part in cycling and running events at the Transplant Games and also now play walking football for over 50s at Goals, with Plymouth Argyle Community Trust. I also pedalled 240 miles over a four day period to raise money for prostate cancer awareness.
“I would urge everyone to sign up to the organ donor register as you could end up saving someone’s life or making someone’s quality of life much better. I am living proof of that.”
In Plymouth, 9 people have died waiting for an organ transplant in the past five years, 11 people from Plymouth have received a transplant since April 2016, and 149 people have undergone a transplant in the last 5 years.
Councillor Lynda Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care for Plymouth City Council, said: “At this time of year with Christmas fast approaching, in the spirit of giving and receiving, what could be better than giving the gift of life?
“Signing up to the organ donation register only takes a couple of minutes but by doing so you could end up saving someone’s life.”
Dr Ruth Harrell, Interim Director of Public Health for Plymouth City Council said: “Most people are in favour of organ donation but only around 35 per cent are signed up. We hope that people will take the time to sign up – this makes it easier for loved ones if the worst does happen.”
Look out for the #TimeToSign hashtag on twitter
For more information on how YOU can register now visit http://bit.ly/2hkSCQz
or call 0300 123 23 23