Wigan mum's plea after borough patients wait for organs

A total of 20 Wigan people are currently in desperate need of a transplant - yet last year fewer than five locals donated organs on their death.
Louise Hughes and son George, wife and son of Dave Hughes who died after a transplant in MayLouise Hughes and son George, wife and son of Dave Hughes who died after a transplant in May
Louise Hughes and son George, wife and son of Dave Hughes who died after a transplant in May

These stark figures show the daunting - and heartbreaking - task transplant officials face as they strive to increase the number of people who are willing to sign up.

In total 74 people from Greater Manchester became lifesaving deceased organ donors over the last year, helping the UK reach its highest ever number of donors.

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NHS Blood and Transplant has released the figures to mark the publication of its annual Transplant Activity Report which reveals there is growing support for organ donation in the borough however the overall shortage of donors remains and there is an urgent need for more people to sign up, especially people in their 50s.

Around three people die a day in need of a donated organ but many people have never told their relatives they want to save lives. Letting your family know that you want to donate will make it much easier for them to support what you want.

There are still 259 people from Greater Manchester on the transplant waiting list and a donated organ is the last and only hope for many people on the list.

Louise Hughes, the widow of heart transplant patient, Dave Hughes, who died aged just 32 after waiting for five years for his new organ said it was “disappointing” that only five people in the borough donated their organs last year and urged people to sign the donor register today.

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Louise, 25, said: “People wouldn’t even think twice about taking an organ if they needed one so why is donating them any different.

“Just that act of signing the register and telling your family your wishes could save up to nine people’s lives which means other babies of transplant patients might not have to grow up without a parent.”

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people.

“We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation. We want more people to have that opportunity.”

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Anyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register, age and medical conditions are not necessarily a barrier to donation. However many over 50s don’t join the NHS Organ Donor Register or tell their families they want to donate because they don’t think their organs could help other people.

Ms Johnson said: “We need more people aged over 50 in Wigan to support donation. People in older age groups can still save and transform lives through organ and tissue donation. Many more lives could be saved by telling their families they want to donate.”

Tell your family you want to save lives through organ donation and join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk