42,000 reasons to say thank you to our very own heroes

Liam and Ami Duggleby of Little Driffield.
Liam and Ami Duggleby of Little Driffield.
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Yorkshire’s incredible response to the Be A Hero campaign has seen an extraordinary 42,000 residents sign the NHS Organ Donor Register, the YEP can reveal.

The success of the donor drive, which is backed by the Yorkshire Evening Post, offers hope to the hundreds of people in our region currently waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.

Akash Suryavansi, from Harehills.

Akash Suryavansi, from Harehills.

In the first five months of the campaign, led by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH), tens of thousands of people have acted to help others - but organisers are desperate for more support to improve the statistic that just one in three people in Yorkshire are on the register.

Be A Hero launched after it emerged that just 29 Leeds families consented to organ donation in 2013 as around 800 people in the county awaited crucial transplants.

It aimed to both raise awareness of organ donation and the need for people to discuss their wishes.

Dr Simon Flood, clinical lead for organ donation at LTH, said: “It’s incredibly moving to see how Yorkshire has backed the Be A Hero campaign since the launch and we want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has signed up so far.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals stage an all day Be A Hero organ donor drive at Trinity Leeds featuring a superhero mascot.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals stage an all day Be A Hero organ donor drive at Trinity Leeds featuring a superhero mascot.

“We are starting to find that families have already heard about organ donation and know their loved one’s wishes because of the campaign. There is still some way to go.”

Throughout the campaign we have told the stories of the brave families who consented to organ donation in tragic circumstances, those waiting for transplants and people who have donors to thank their lives for.

Ami and Liam Duggleby, who lost their daughter Minnie less than a year ago at just 23 days old, were among those to step forward after they allowed Minnie to become Yorkshire’s youngest ever organ donor.

The couple, alongside the family of Harehills teen Akash Suryavansi who recently had his second kidney transplant, were given the coveted Special Contribution award at the YEP Best of Health Awards 2015 in December.

Dr Catherine Penrose, of Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “Each day the LTH is working to further support brave decisions by families to donate their babies’ organs.

“Through sharing their story with the public, they’ve inspired and given other neonatal families the courage to raise the subject of organ donation with the team in Leeds.”

Since its launch the campaign has continued to snowball, with more regional trusts backing the campaign in areas including Barnsley, East Yorkshire and Sheffield.

To sign up for the register visit leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero or call 0300 1232323 and reference the Yorkshire Be A Hero campaign.

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