The sister of inspirational Emmerdale actress Kitty McGeever has revealed that her organs have gone on to save the lives of two people.
The 48-year-old, who became the first registered blind actress to have a starring role in a British soap when she joined the show to play Lizzie Lakely in 2009, died while waiting for a kidney transplant in August last year.
Kitty, who was born in Leeds and grew up in Liversedge, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 18 and went blind in her 30s after developing diabetic retinopathy.
Her diabetes and the stress of losing her 15-month-old son left her needing a pancreas and kidney transplant in 2006 but further issues with the transplanted kidney led it to fail.
Kitty’s sister Caroline Mitchell, who lives in Hebden Bridge, said her family followed Kitty’s wishes to donate her own organs after death and has been told two people have benefitted.
“For us, it was important because she had received an organ and that had given her five or six years of really good health – she would want to pay that back,” Caroline said.
“She would have been absolutely jumping for joy that she could donate anything to help others.”
As she aims to encourage others to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register, Caroline added that seeing Kitty enjoy the benefits of her 2006 transplants was like “watching a plant come back to life”.
It comes as the Yorkshire Post Newspapers-backed Be A Hero campaign urges more people to sign the register as around 700 people in the region await lifesaving transplants.
New figures from NHS Blood and Transplant revealed this week that a record 279 people in Yorkshire received lifechanging transplants in 2015/16 although more people are needed to register as potential organ donors.
The first ever Be A Hero Day in Yorkshire will aim to boost the register on Friday.
For further information or to sign the register visit leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero
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