Record number consented to donate organs of loved ones in Leeds

Health chiefs are applauding the generosity of families in Leeds after a record number of organs were donated by relatives of loved ones after they died.

Lucky Igharo with his three children, Freedom, Devine and Precious.
Lucky Igharo with his three children, Freedom, Devine and Precious.

Figures released by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust show that an incredible 48 families consented to organ donation last year after the death of a relative the in the city.

The statistics highlight the success of the trust’s ongoing YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign, which launched last July and urges people to sign the NHS’ Organ Donation Register.

And as a result of the generosity of the families in Leeds who consented for organ donation from April 2015 to April 2016, 91 patients received a lifesaving transplant.

For Lucky Igharo, whose wife Jessica died after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2015, he says the emotional decision to donate her organs was one he will never regret.

The dad-of-three consented after speaking with doctors at Leeds General Infirmary, and his wife’s organs were used for lifesaving transplants for five patients.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The most joy I have had in my life and my best achievement, is knowing that through my partner she has saved the lives of five people in the world. It was a difficult decision but it’s a thing more and more people should look at doing. If I had not done it I would regret it now.”

For his lifesaving generosity, Mr Igharo, from Bradford, was awarded with the Medal of the Order of St John in honour of his wife.

The Be A Hero campaign is now organising a Be A Hero Day on Friday, to urge more people to sign up and become donors as there are still 700 people on the waiting list for a transplant in Yorkshire.

It takes place during national Organ Donation Week, which starts today aims to raise awareness of the need for new donors.

Of the 48 families who consented to donation during the 12-month period, 29 people became donors after they died.

And a total of 110 organs - including 56 kidneys, 23 livers, 16 lungs, 8 hearts and 7 pancreas - were used for lifesaving transplants in Leeds.

Dr Simon Flood, clinical lead for organ donation at the trust, said: “It is really positive to see that consent rates are on the rise in Yorkshire. One donor can save up to nine lives.”

People and businesses are being asked to pledge their support to Be A Hero Day on Friday, September 9.

The campaign is hoping to gather a record number of organ donation register sign-ups in one day.

And people can pledge their support and sign up online.

If the target of 250 supporters is received on the website by Friday, the figure will be released via social media on Be A Hero Day.