Residents urged to join donor register

By Harriet Ernstsons Wednesday 10 July 2013 Updated: 10/07 11:28

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Buy photos » Coun Juliet Brunner with her mother Sheila Twist. (s)

A REDDITCH councillor whose mother's life was saved by a double lung transplant has called on residents to join the donor list.

Coun Juliet Brunner, leader of the opposition, has spoken out during National Transplant Week (July 8 to 14) to encourage others to sign up to the organ donation register.

Her mother Sheila Twist receiving the life-saving organs in 2004 and continues to receive care from the transplant team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Coun Brunner told the Standard her family wrote a letter to the donor's loved ones each year on the anniversary of the transplant to thank them.

"I've always carried a donor card. It was thanks to the generosity of one family in a time of great sadness that I still have my mum.

"Words can never express our gratitude for this truly selfless gift."

There are currently 113 people in Worcestershire waiting for a transplant, with 36 county residents having passed away in the last four years due to a shortage of organs.

The theme for this year's Transplant Week is 'pass it on' with videos from the UK's best known communicators highlighting the importance of having a conversation about organ donation with loved ones.

Residents are encouraged to watch the films at www.youtube.com/transplantweek and talk to their family or friends about their donation wishes, as well as signing up to the donor register.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said since April, six people in Worcestershire had received a transplant.

"To help more people we need everyone, including the 193,145 people on the NHS organ donor register in Worcestershire, to talk to their loved ones about their donation wishes.

"We need a transformation in donor and family consent to organ donation because the UK’s family refusal rate remains one of the highest in Europe."

MP Karen Lumley, who herself carries a donor card, said: "Transplanting organs saves lives. Raising awareness of the need for blood and transplant donations is a cause I very much believe in.

"Signing up to the organ registry is quick and simple, yet really can save someone's life. I encourage my constituents to today ask family members and friends what their wishes are.

"This sounds very simple but could one day be the initial action which leads to saving a life."

Visit www.transplantweek.co.uk, call 0300 123 2323 or text DONATE to 62323 to sign up.

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