National Transplant Week is a hit

The “What are you waiting for?” campaign during National Transplant Week has had a fantastic response, with a record number of people joining the NHS Organ Donor Register

They don’t know if it was the flashmob singing “Don’t Stop Believing” at London’s Spitalfields Market that did it, or high-profile supporters such as Jimmy Carr and Sarah Brown, but this year’s National Transplant Week was a huge success, managing to capture local and national media attention and put the urgent case for more organ donors centre stage. 

They needed more people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR) and their theme, “What Are You Waiting For’, was designed to grab the imagination of those who may never have considered what it must feel like to be on a waiting list for an organ that could save their life.

They clearly struck a chord because they saw an astonishing increase of 352 per cent in online registrations to the ODR compared to an average month.

NHSBT’s Gavin Evans says, “This year, for the first time, NHSBT got together with a group of organisations in developing Transplant Week activity. For our theme – ‘What Are You Waiting For?’ – we conducted a survey of the nation’s waiting habits and attitudes and, with the help of a media psychologist, contrasted this with real-life patient stories. This highlighted the traumatic and uncertain reality of the wait for a new organ, compared with the relatively trivial waiting experiences most of us have to deal with. The theme also gave us a great hook to explain how easy it is to join.”

The flashmob singing event (see www.flashmob) was arranged by Emily Thackray, who received a lung transplant and is now chair of the Live Life Then Give Life charity. Dr Chris Steele led a discussion on ITV’s This Morning programme as part of a kidney research item, whilst on Twitter they received support from celebrities including actor James Corden, comedian Jimmy Carr, Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Dragon Duncan Bannatyne and wife of the former Prime Minister, Sarah Brown.

Sally Johnson, director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, says, “National Transplant Week is an event supported by NHSBT, but owned by the entire organ donation and transplantation community. It was marvellous to see so many individuals and organisations coming together to help make this year’s Transplant Week such a success.”

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