Organ donation message storms social media as Be A Hero Day message spreads

The Be A Hero mascot with transplant patient James Hodgson. Picture by Tony Johnson.

The Be A Hero mascot with transplant patient James Hodgson. Picture by Tony Johnson.

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Be A Hero Day’s lifesaving organ donation message has stormed social media and encouraged scores of people to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register.

The YEP-backed campaign’s first ever day of action saw dozens of people sign up online after a drive to get people’s attention both on Twitter and Facebook and in person today.

More than 300 people joined an online Thunderclap movement to voice their support on social media, which helped the Be A Hero drive reach more than 570,000 people.

Brave families, who have spoken out about their experiences of organ donation, also got involved by joining specialist staff at Leeds St James’s Hospital’s Bexley Wing to encourage people to sign up.

The cape-wearing Be A Hero mascot also toured cafes, offices, shopping centres and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Kirkstall station to spread the word.

The campaign, which is organised by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH), comes in response to the news that around 700 people in Yorkshire are awaiting lifesaving transplants.

Be A Hero supporters pictured at Leeds St James's Hospital. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Be A Hero supporters pictured at Leeds St James's Hospital. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Dr Simon Flood, clinical Lead for organ donation at LTH, said: “It was fantastic to see our donor and transplant families sharing their stories on the first ever Be A Hero Day.

“A huge thanks again to all of our Yorkshire heroes who have shown us their support.”

Since the launch of the campaign in 2015, 48 families consented to organ donation at LTH in 2015/16 – the highest number of family consents the trust has had in one year.

New figures also show 161 families in wider Yorkshire consented to the donation of a loved one’s organs during that time.

Meanwhile a Sheffield-based health insurance provider, Westfield Health, has announced it has signed a further three-year deal as title sponsor of the British Transplant Games.

The annual sports festival, hosted by charity Transplant Sport, attracts hundreds of amateur athletes of all ages, who have all benefited from lifesaving transplants, to compete in a variety of events.

Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairman, said: “For a number of years we have been incredibly proud of our involvement with this prestigious and emotive event.”

He said that the games, which took place in Liverpool this year, allow people to witness “first-hand the lifesaving benefits of organ donation and transplantation”.

To sign the organ donor register, which takes just two minutes online, visit www.leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero.

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