TRANSPLANT survivors have urged people to join the organ donor register – as figures show five South Yorkshire patients have died in the last eight months waiting for a life-saving operation.
The figures, obtained from the NHS for The Star’s new Gift of Life campaign, reveal the patients lost their battle for life waiting for a new heart, lung, kidneys or other organs since last April.
Now kidney transplant survivors – who all had their life-changing operations at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital in Fir Vale just a few weeks ago – have spoken of their experiences.
They backed the drive to sign up 12,000 new donors before the Westfield British Transplant Games in the city this August.
Roy Simpson, aged 61, of Stannington, received an organ from a deceased donor after years on dialysis battling kidney disease nephritis, which causes inflammation and can lead to the organ failing.
He said: “I thought about the person who donated the organ and their family after the operation.
“You feel elated for yourself and sad for them.
“They have given someone a second chance at a better future.
“The thing to stress is it could happen to anyone, they might be fine one day and the next might need a transplant too.”
Mosborough grandma Deborah Revill, 44, had IgA nephropathy, a disorder where anti-bodies build up in the kidney and underwent a transplant around the same time.
She said: “I do feel grateful to the donor, I know they’ve lost and I’ve gained.”
The NHS figures also show 217 people in South Yorkshire are currently waiting for an organ transplant.
In the last year 131 operations on ill local people took place and 364,116 people in Sheffield are already signed up the organ donor register.
A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Three people die every day waiting for a transplant and others face a long wait before they receive an organ.
“By taking just a few minutes to sign the Organ Donor Register, you could make a difference in the event of your death - one donor can save or improve up to nine lives.
“It is also vital to tell your loved ones about your wishes so they know what you would have wanted should the worst happen.”
Join the register
* Signing up takes just minutes and can be done online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk, text SAVE to 84118 or by calling 0300 12323 23.
* Joining the register records your agreement to the use of your organs and tissue for transplantation after your death.
* Tell your family. Almost half of donors’ intentions cannot be honoured because families were unaware of their wishes.