Organ Donation Week (formerly known as National Transplant Week) is organised by NHS Blood and Transplant to promote how organ donation can transform lives.
There are currently around 7,000 people in the UK on the active waiting list – including around 200 children.
On average, three people die every day in need of a transplant because there are not enough organs available.
Families are more likely to agree to organ donation if they know it is what their relative would have wanted. So organisers of the awareness week are encouraging people to start a conversation with their family about organ donation.
“Talking about death won’t make it happen, and it’s important for us all to put our plans in place. One of the key decisions we all have to make is about organ donation, so that we have a chance to make life better for other people after we die,” explained Claire Henry MBE, CEO of Dying Matters.
Dying Matters is supporting the campaign and is encouraging its members to discuss their end of life choices with family and friends – and support others to do so.
Dying Matters’ own survey from earlier this year found that only 33% of adults in Great Britain have registered to become an organ donor, or carry an organ donor card. Women are ahead of men, with 38% saying they are prepared to be organ donors, compared with only 28% of men.
Claire added: “It’s important to discuss our end of life choices with our loved ones, and to make sure our wishes are written down. Organ Donation Week is a great chance to start that conversation, and to show that talking about death is nothing to be worried about. Once we have our plans in place, including our organ donation wishes, we can all get on with living our lives to the full.”
Sally Johnson, director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “We hope people across the UK will get behind the week and the opportunity it presents to focus people’s attention on organ donation.
“People waiting for transplants depend on people being willing to donate their organs and sadly on average three people die every day across the UK due to a shortage of donated organs.”