Be a hero today and join organ donor register

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A day of awareness-raising events will be held to urge people to save lives by joining the organ donor register.

Medical professionals and families who have experienced organ donation will gather at Leeds General Infirmary today for Be a Hero Day.

Mark and Karen Piotr

Mark and Karen Piotr

Experts will be on hand to give advice about organ donation at the event, part of the Be a Hero campaign, launched in 2015 by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

People are being asked to discuss their end-of-life wishes with loved ones who have the final say over what happens to their organs.

Nine people were helped with donated organs following the death of Mark Piotr at LGI last May.

His wife Karen, 49, said: “Because I knew what Mark’s wishes were, it made it easier for me to make that decision.”

One of the people whose life was saved was the Sheffield artist Pete McKee, who received Mr Piotr’s liver.

Mrs Piotr added: “He benefited from that special gift of life. Being able to see the new work that Pete he is able to do now is quite phenomenal.

“To think that my husband, one person, has helped nine people is amazing.”

Since Be a Hero, a campaigned backed by the Yorkshire Evening Post, was launched, the number of people in Yorkshire and Humber waiting for a transplant has almost halved, from 800 to 483.

But 34 people died while on the transplant waiting list last year.

A campaign spokesperson said: “Be A Hero Day aims to put organ donation on the agenda and inspire as many Yorkshire residents as possible to consider and speak to family members about their organ donation wishes to lead to more transplants in the region.

“As the families with first-hand experience of organ donation speak out, they support one of the campaign’s aims to remove the stigma associated with talking about final wishes with our loved ones.”

Tonight Leeds City Council will light up the Town Hall and Civic Hall in pink to support Organ Donation Week.

To find out about organ donation log on to www.organdonation.nhs.uk