Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Christmas Is a Time for Giving - Save a Life

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Christmas Is a Time for Giving - Save a Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter helen.rae@ncjmedia.co.uk

NINETY lives are hanging in the balance today as people await transplants.

Information by NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed scores or people in the North East are on the waiting list for a lifesaving transplant. This month, NHS Blood and Transplant is running the Christmas List campaign, to draw attention to the people who are waiting for a transplant and to encourage everyone to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Sadly, not all of those waiting will get the transplant they need. New figures show 11 patients in Tyne and Wear have died while on the transplant waiting list this year alone, and their families will be facing their first Christmas without their loved one. It is estimated that 30 people in the whole of the North East have died in the last 12 months as no organ was available.

Meanwhile, 51 people in Tyne and Wear have been more fortunate and will be able to celebrate Christmas looking ahead to a brighter future as they have received a transplant already this year thanks to families agreeing to donate a relative's organs.

Sejal Kelkar, a consultant psychiatrist, is one of the lucky ones as she received a kidney transplant at Newcastle Freeman Hospital.

The 40-year-old started getting headaches and nausea in 2008 not long after the birth of her daughter. In March 2009 she was diagnosed with kidney failure of unknown cause. Her husband and brother were both tested as matches but neither was suitable. A kidney match was found in 2010 from a deceased donor and since her transplant the mum-of-two is doing well, however, she may need another kidney transplant in the future.

Sejal, of Gosforth, Newcastle, said: "It's the one gift that's completely in your hands. It's not expensive but it could change the life of not just the recipient but everybody around them. It's absolutely life-changing. It's amazing what a stranger has done for me by donating their kidney. I can't thank them enough.

"When you're waiting for a transplant it can be scary as there's uncertainty and you don't know what the future holds.

"My children were really young at the time and I used to get very tired, whereas I have more energy now.

"It is really important that people join the Organ Donor Register and let their family know their wishes as people don't always carry an Organ Donor Register card with them."

Christmas can be a dif-ficult time for people on the transplant waiting list. Their condition may mean they are too sick to enjoy it and many will worry it could be their last Christmas.

Last month, the Chronicle launched its Become A Donor campaign, which aims to get 10,000 people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss their wishes with loved ones. …

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