Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Signing to Save a Life

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Signing to Save a Life

Article excerpt

Byline: By Craig Thompson

Hundreds of North East life-savers responded to a donor appeal within hours.

More than 400 names were added to the NHS Organ Donor Register as shoppers in Newcastle city centre answered the pleas of organ donors and recipients.

Transplant patients from across the region came together yesterday to support the Chronicle-backed campaign. Heart-swap children joined pensioners who have been given a new lease of life, all thanks to the courage of people willing to sign the life-saving register which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Recipients, each with their own miracle story, spoke of how their lives have changed .

Queues of people lined up beside the Haymarket Metro station to sign the register.

Sue Johnstone, from the Transplant in Mind organisation, said: "Newcastle holds the record for the most numbers signing up in one day. That was 817 people set in 2000. We will be returning to the Haymarket on Saturday aiming to beat that.

"We have had a terrific start here and can't thank everyone enough for what they have done already."

Kaylee Davidson, Britain's youngest heart-swap baby, joined in the fun and was guest of honour at a special lunch at Newcastle Civic Centre. The Houghton-le-Spring student was also celebrating her 18th birthday and her mum Carol, 37, said: "To see so many people turn out has been fantastic."

But, among the celebrations, pleas were made for more people to sign up and agree to donate their organs in the result of their death.

Lynne Holt, Newcastle transplant co-ordinator, said: "It is a bit like making out your own will.

"If your family knows what your wishes are then there can be no problems or dilemmas when it comes to making the decision.

"It is about communicating and letting your loved ones know what you want to happen after you die."

Sue Sutherland, chief executive of NHS UK Transplant, added: "So many more lives could be saved if people discussed organ donation and registered their wishes.

"Bereaved families say it brings comfort to know that, in spite of their loss, someone else has been given the chance to live on."

To sign the NHS Organ Donor Register contact 0845 60 60 400. …

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