Body art to celebrate gift of organ donations at Leeds General Infirmary

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An eye-catching performance of live body art was held to raise awareness of the need for people to become lifesavers by signing up to donate organs.

Emergency services staff had human organs painted onto their bodies to demonstrate their commitment to organ donation at Leeds General Infirmary.

The event was held as NHS staff prepare to step up their campaign for more donors as part of Organ Donation Week, which starts on Monday.

In 2015, the Be a Hero campaign was launched by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to boost donations and avoid people dying while waiting for organs. It was backed by the Yorkshire Evening Post saw 50,000 people in Yorkshire sign the organ donor register.

Campaigners want even more people to sign the register, and are also calling on people to discuss their wishes for after they die with family members who have the final say on what happens to their organs.

Staff from hospitals and the fire and ambulance services took part in the body painting session to highlight five of the body’s most important organs - the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas.

Dr Catherine Penrose, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “Organ donation and giving the gift of life so it may save the lives of others is an inspiring act and we wanted to come together to create a powerful visual that illustrates just how incredible the human body is.

“By highlighting five different organs, we hope to raise awareness that one person has the ability to save up to nine lives through organ donation.

“Ahead of Organ Donation Week, our body art installation intends to thank and celebrate the hundreds of families in Yorkshire who signed the donor register or consented to organ donation on behalf of a loved one last year. Thanks to the altruism of donors across the region, 318 people received a live changing transplant in our region alone in 2017-18.”

Volunteers from Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and West Yorkshire Fire Service took part in the body painting, curated by Lulu’s Professional Body and Face Painting.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “We’ve supported the Be A Hero campaign since its launch in 2015 and hope that the impactful and visually eye-catching body art installation will shine the spotlight on the human body and inspire even more Yorkshire residents to sign the organ donor register and speak to their loved ones about their wishes.”

“Firefighters get to do lifesaving work every day but members of the public can also make the decision to give the gift of life to others once they have gone. We hope this will encourage people to simply open up the conversation and become better informed about organ donation.”

Dr Steven Dykes, Deputy Medical Director at the ambulance service, added: “We already work closely with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“So it makes perfect sense to join forces with them for this very important campaign. We care for so many people whose life could be improved by receiving a vital organ, and we really hope that the campaign encourages more people to give the gift of life to others across Yorkshire.”