Donate Wales launches new campaign to save a life this new year and join the Organ Donor register.

Donate Wales today unveils a new call to action for the people of Wales, challenging them to join the organ donor register and save a life this new year.

Every 11 days a person in Wales dies waiting for an organ transplant.

Whilst 71% of welsh adults would be willing to donate their organs after death, just 28% are on the organ donor register.

Sarah Bird, from Church Village, near Pontypridd, whose ten month old son, Johnny is waiting for a kidney is backing the Donate Wales campaign:

‘Johnny will have to wait until he’ about three years old before he can have a transplant. Due to his age, the waiting game is a little bit longer. Whilst he waits he can’t live a normal life. He has to take five different types of medication, 9 times a day as well as having to inject once a week. His health is being closely monitored and if it deteriorates he may have to dialyse until he receives a transplant.

‘We don’t yet know if my husband or I are suitable donors. If we are not matches, Johnny will be added to the transplant waiting list and will be joining nearly 500 other people in Wales. If more people joined the organ donor register, and I know they want to, it could save Johnny’s and hundreds of other Welsh people’s lives. So please join the organ donor register and save a life this new year.

Executive Chairman of Kidney Wales Foundation, Roy J.Thomas said

‘The Donate Wales campaign was launched in 2008, since then an extra 60,000 people have joined the register. That is still not enough. We know many more people want to donate their organs than are on the register they want to end the wait for people Johnny. That’s why this new year we are asking people to join by visiting www.donatewales.org calling 0300 123 23 23 or texting SAVE to 84118’

Minister for Health and Social Services in the Welsh Assembly Government, Edwina Hart AM is backing the campaign:

‘I’m backing this campaign because it will save lives. 490 people in Wales are waiting for a transplant. Increasing the number or organs available will save lives. This new year I’ll be encouraging friends and family as well as the people of Wales to save a life and join the organ donor register. It only takes two minutes and it really can save a life’

Ends

For more information or interviews contact Alison Goldsworthy. Director of Communications and Events on 029 2034 4940 (office) / 07974 353021 (out of hours) or alison@kidneywales.com

Notes to editors

1.The Donate Wales campaign is led by the Kidney Wales Foundation and supported by nine other charities and organisations including: the British Heart Foundation, British Liver Trust, Diabetes UK Cymru, RNIB Cymru, Cystic Fibrosis, Live Life then Give Life, British Medical Association and Welsh Kidney Patient Association. The campaign also receives financial support from the Welsh Assembly Government.

2.More than 490 people in Wales are listed for a transplant.

3.28% of people in Wales have joined the organ donor register and 490 are waiting for a transplant. Statistics from NHSBT.

4.Polling conducted by YouGov in December 2009. Breakdown of statistics available on request.

5.All the major religions support organ donation, while there is no age limit to joining the Register nor restrictions to joining the Organ Donor Register because of a person’s sexuality.