Families in West Norfolk are being urged to share their organ donation wishes with loved ones in order to save a life in the future.
Around 460 lifesaving organ donation transplant operations are missed every year because families are not aware of what their relative wanted.
Now Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation Marika Valiaho has been raising awareness of this issue at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, as part of Organ Donation Week, which is running from September 4 to 10.
Marika, who covers The QEH, is encouraging more people to take a while to think about organ donation and if they would like to go on to save lives of others if they were ever in this position. Marika also emphasises the importance of sharing your decision with those you are close to.
She said: “This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference. It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.
“Families who are aware of their loved ones wishes in regards to organ donation, find it easier to support them than those who have not had a conversation about this in the past.
“We are encouraging people to take a couple of minutes to share with their families what they would like to happen in that situation.”
“Although you may have made the decision to sign up on the Organ donor Register, it is important to share this with your family. It makes it easier for your family to support your wishes at this difficult time.”
According to NHS Blood and Transplant, 457 people died last year while on the active transplant list with a further 875 removed due to ill health and there are 6,414 people currently waiting for a transplant.
Every potential donor is important as only one in 100 people die in circumstances in which they could donate.
Marika, who is part of a specialist team which covers Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, said: “It is vital that people consider what they want to happen if they died and to share it with their loved ones so we can help to transform the lives of as many people as possible who are waiting for a transplant.
“Organ donation is something positive coming out of the sad situation for families.”
Hospital Chief Executive Jon Green has also lent his support to Organ Donation Week and is encouraging others to share their wishes with families.
He said: “With 6,414 people currently on the waiting list for a transplant, it is important that we all make the effort to share our wishes with partners, children and parents.
“I would urge everyone to ensure that they have equipped their loved ones with their wishes so if it comes to worst they are in possession of the facts.”
If you would like to become an organ donor go to: www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23.
For more information go to: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk
Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation Marika Valiaho promotes the importance of sharing your organ donation wishes with loved ones.
Chief Executive Jon Green is also supporting the campaign