Health: ‘Be A Hero and sign donor register as we tackle taboo’

Akash Suryavansi, from Harehills, whose transplanted kidney from his mum Tina has failed. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Akash Suryavansi, from Harehills, whose transplanted kidney from his mum Tina has failed. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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Shocking figures that we released last week give little hope to the likes of Akash Suryavansi – and it’s something we must change.

As part of the launch of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Be A Hero campaign, which the YEP is putting its weight behind, we revealed that just 29 Leeds residents donated organs after death in 2014/15.

To put that into context, there are currently around 800 people on the transplant waiting list in Yorkshire and 10,000 nationally. Three people on that list in the UK die waiting for an organ every day.

So when you consider one person can change the lives of nine people by signing the NHS Organ Donor Register, there is something we can all do to help.

The fact of the matter is that talking about death and your stance on organ donation is still seen as a taboo subject, meaning many who strongly believe in the concept of helping others simply fail to make that clear enough to those closest to them. As a result many people on the transplant waiting list are needlessly dying amid a long wait for an organ that might never come.

We hope our support of Be A Hero, highlighting the stories of those on all sides of organ donation, will make clear that simply signing the register whether you’re young or old can literally save lives.

The amazing contribution of the 29 Leeds donors kept 76 people alive last year – people like Harehills teen Akash who is facing an agonising wait for a kidney transplant. He waited six years for his first transplant, which came from his mum Tina but it has now failed.

We as a collective must do all we can to ensure people like him get another chance from the organs that, one day, we might no longer need.

Click here to find out more about organ donation through the Be A Hero campaign and join the NHS Organ Donor Register.


Around three people die every day in the UK owing to a lack of a donor organ.

A donor can help up to nine people by donating heart, lungs, two kidneys, pancreas, liver and small bowel and their corneas.

Donors can also give bone and tissue such as skin, heart valves and tendons.

Organs from people in their 70s and 80s can be transplanted successfully but older donors are less likely to be able to donate.

Most organ donations come from people who have died while on a ventilator in a hospital intensive care unit.


We’re urging residents to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register and become a hero.

To raise the profile of Be A Hero we’re also urging workplaces and communities to support the campaign through anything from putting up a Be A Hero poster to hosting a superhero day. You can even download a #BeAHero mask from leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero and tweet your superhero selfies to @Leedsnews and @LTHTrust using the hashtag #BeAHero.

Supporters can also send #BeAHero messages of support to facebook.com/yep.newspaper or send their tales of organ donation via email to jonathan.brown@ypn.co.uk.