An awareness week looking to build on the 50.5% of Scotland’s population signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register – the highest percentage of UK countries –is set to start next month.
In a bid to further increase the number of people in the West of Scotland, including in Renfrewshire, already signed up to the register, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s specialist organ donation staff will host an awareness raising stand at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital as part of Organ Donation Week.
The stand will run at the QEUH - the West of Scotland’s kidney transplant centre - from Monday 03 until Thursday 06 September.
The aim is to encourage more meaningful conversations between staff, patients and visitors on what organ donation really means.
Across Greater Glasgow and Clyde there are 194 people in need of a kidney transplant with 48% of the population signed up to the register.
One person fully supporting the awareness week is Chloe Knott who earlier this month marked the two year anniversary of receiving a kidney at the QEUH from her mum, Laura.
Chloe (24), who lives in Glasgow, was spending 70 hours a week on dialysis and used that time to set up Transplant Toys, a non-profit business which has raised more than £1,500 for charity. Chloe’s initiative collects second-hand soft toys and transplants a part of another toy to boost awareness around organ donation.
Chloe said: “Transplant Toys gives toys a second chance at life. I take toys in need of new body parts and give them transplants. I create an online store which enables you to purchase a one of a kind Transplant Toy and take them home on their road to recovery. The funds raised go towards U.K based charities who focus on treatment, support and research of human organs.
“We get great feedback from parents saying the toys really help children to understand what is happening to them or giving them a better understanding of what a family member or friend is experiencing.
“The reason someone should become an organ donor is because our aim is to raise awareness for organ donation in a fun, creative and educational way. It fills me with so much joy when I receive messages from families about parents or their children going through the transplant process, thanking me for making the process a lot easier to understand.”
Megan Reid, Specialist Nurse said: “This is an excellent opportunity for patients and visitors to meet with staff and really understand what organ donation means and the information stand at the QEUH will help us to do this in a very visible way.
“Being able to donate organs and tissue to help people who desperately need transplants is one of the greatest accomplishments of modern medicine.
“Organ Donation Week will help us to spread the message even further about just what is possible when a person joins the NHS Organ Donation Register. It’s easy to join; it takes less than two minutes to sign up and has the potential to transform the lives of up to seven people and help restore the sight of two people.
“It’s also very important to reassure people that if they are admitted to hospital in a critical condition, the absolute first priority of doctors is always to save their patient's life. It is only if a patient has died or is not expected to survive that donation is considered.”
Within Scotland there are 703 people in need of a kidney transplant. Since April, there have been 51 kidney transplants from deceased donors and 26 kidney transplants from live donors.
In June 2015, kidney transplant surgeons carried out a record six kidney transplants in 24 hours - just three days after moving into the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (SGUH).
Before the move to the £842 Million hospital, surgeons on average carried out three kidney transplants a week. In just 24 hours, the team carried out the equivalent of two weeks’ worth of transplants.
Signing up to be an organ donor takes just two minutes at: https://www.organdonationscotland.org/yes
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Pic: Laura Knott who received a kidney from her mum two years ago.