BRIGHTLY coloured balloons in blues of every hue were released into the skies above Sheffield to mark the end of a national awareness week spreading a message of the importance of organ donation.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust organised the event to close Transplant Week, during which specialist organ donation nurses manned information stands at hospitals across the city showing how organ donation has saved and changed lives.
Banners reaching 7ft in height were used to give further impact to the message, with pictures featuring patients who have benefited from transplant operations.
The balloons were launched to celebrate the lives of recipients and their families as well as those who have been donors.
Amy Fretwell, a support worker at the trust, is one of those to have featured on the banners after she received a kidney transplant aged nine because she was suffering from chronic renal failure.
Now 20, Amy said: “Transplant week is really important to organ recipients like me.
“We understand more than anyone the need to raise awareness of how important joining the register is. I hope my banner helps people understand that anyone could be effected - it could be your daughter, father or sister, young or old.”
Ben Moore, also 20, from North Aston, received a transplanted kidney in February at the Northern General Hospital. The op allowed him at last to plan his dream holiday.
Andrew Davidson, clinical donation champion at the trust, said: “We are continuing in our campaign to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and signing up to the donor register which will hopefully lead to more people, like Ben, getting a better quality of life.”
A survey run by NHS Blood and Transplant revealed 25 per cent of people in Sheffield have registered to be a donor. Across the UK more than 7,500 people are waiting for a new organ.
Sally Johnson, director for organ donation and transplantation at NHSBT, said: “We all know how frustrating it is to wait for something we want - be it a bus, exam results or a delivery at home - but our lives don’t depend on it.
“Imagine how it feels to be one of those waiting on average three years for a life-saving organ transplant.”
Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23 to sign up to the register.