It's within us all to help save a life and one woman is helping Scots to make a difference between life and death every day.
36 year-old, mother-of-two, Lesley Kelly is a Transplant Co-ordinator at the West of Scotland Transplant Unit based at Glasgow's Western Infirmary.
With over 600 Scots on the National Transplant Register, Lesley divides her time between the challenging job of persuading others to donate organs and raising public awareness.
Describing her main responsibilities, she said: "I speak with relatives of patients who have sadly died in the Intensive Care Unit and ask them for permission for organ donation. Obviously, this can be very difficult but I believe I am able to offer a positive outcome from something so very tragic."
Lesley also spends time raising public awareness and getting people to carry a donor card - one of the key themes of this year's National Transplant Week.
"Raising the profile of transplantation is very challenging but worth the effort. When people on the transplant waiting list see publicity for organ donation it gives them hope that their turn will come and someone out there is on their side helping to promote the issue," she said.
Transplants are vital operations and their success depends largely on the generosity of donors and their families who make this life-saving gift.
Lesley says that one of the most important issues when carrying a donor card is to discuss the issue with your family.
"Many people are willing to have their organs used to save a life and carry a donor card but they don't tell their families who can then refuse permission for their organs to be removed for transplant. However, not many will refuse if their loved one's wishes have already been expressed to them."
Lesley works with four other Transplant Co-ordinators at the Western and between them they cover the whole of the West of Scotland.
It certainly takes someone special to do the kind of job Lesley does but as she says: "Most people say they would want a transplant if they needed one and I ask people to put themselves in that position – if you are prepared to accept a transplant, would you donate your organs after your death to save a life?"
For further information please contact Emma Gregory on 0141 201 3964 or e-mail [email protected]
Notes to Editors:
· More than 7,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant throughout the UK.
· In the UK around 2,800 organs are transplanted each year.
· One in ten people waiting for a heart, lung or heart/lung transplant will die whilst waiting and many others will have lost their life before they get onto the waiting list.
· Between 1 April 2002 and 31 March 2003, 1,008 lives were saved in the UK through a heart, lung, combined heart/lungs or liver transplant.
· In the UK more women than men have signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.