Campaign day set to highlight city’s need for organ donors

Ben Lavin.
Ben Lavin.
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It is an agonising wait on a list filled with hundreds of patients hoping to receive the gift of life.

And people in Leeds are now being urged to sign the NHS’ Organ Donation Register and save a life as part of the ongoing YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign.

Thanks to the generosity of people across Leeds and beyond, more than 52,000 people signed the register in the first six months.

Now, led by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the campaign is organising Be A Hero Day, on September 9, to raise awareness of the hundreds of patients who are still on the transplant list.

And father-of-three Ben Lavin knows only too well hos vital it is for new donors to come forward.

The 41-year-old, who was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2012, was told by doctors that without a transplant he may not live beyond four years.

He underwent a life-saving operation at St James’s Hospital just nine weeks ago, after his mum selflessly stepped forward as a donor.

Mr Lavin told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I went in with an inflamed knee, which I thought was from football, then after blood tests they said I had kidney disease and needed a transplant.

“My mum obviously did it for her son but she got a real sense of satisfaction in that it is extending someone else’s life.

“Without this, I would have had to be on dialysis and then, in four or five years, I wouldn’t have been here.”

Their operation in June was a success, and both are now recovering.

Mr Lavin is now urging others to sign the register as part of the campaign.

He added: “All my family and friends are now putting themselves on the register because they now know how life saving it is.

“I would urge people to sign it because it can change someone else’s life.”

The campaign has been backed by The Duchess of York, who is now a patron.

It has also been supported city sports clubs Leeds Rhinos and Leeds United, as well as film star Sir Patrick Stewart.

Be A Hero Day takes place during Organ Donation Week, which runs from September 5-11, to highlight the importance of donating and celebrate those who have signed up.