A Long Sutton grandmother who underwent a life-saving transplant last year is backing a national campaign calling for more organ donors to come forward.
As well as signing the NHS Organ Donor Register Pam Mohr (61) wants people to make sure they discuss their final wishes with family members, as currently without next of kin’s consent organ donations cannot be made.
Former deputy head teacher Pam, who was given a lung-transplant after developing an incurable condition sparked by a one-off allergy to birds, is backing National Transplant Week’s 7 Days to Say I Do campaign, which started on Monday and runs through to Sunday, September 13.
It focuses on encouraging individuals to discuss their decision about organ donation with those closest to them.
If organ donation is a possibility when a person dies, doctors rely wholly on their family’s support to fulfil their decision of becoming an organ donor, and the chances of relatives saying yes has been found to increase significantly when they know what their loved one wants.
“My transplant has given me my life back,” says Pam, who was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease after suffering asthma-like symptoms, chest infections and a collapsed lung.
“I have written to the family of my donor – I wanted them to know just what this has meant to me. If it were the other way round, I would want to know.
“Since my operation I’ve become the chairman of the Breathe Easy group in King’s Lynn and am trying to highlight the acute shortage of donor organs in this country – for some reason the number of donors coming forward in the UK, compared to other countries, is going down.
“We need to encourage people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save a life.
“I cannot stress how important it is for people to discuss this with their families – as many as four-out-of-ten refuse.”
NHS Blood and Transplant is calling for everyone in the UK to discuss organ donation and decide what they would do if called on to donate.
According to its figures the consent rate from families remains stubbornly below 60 per cent and unless there is a revolution in attitudes to organ donation, people waiting for a transplant will continue to die needlessly.
“We understand that families are expected to consider donation in their darkest hour. So we would remind everyone to tell those closest to you now if you want to donate your organs – and then record that decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register,” says NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of organ donation and transplantation Sally Johnson.
“Should the time come, your family will know you want to donate your organs to help to save others.
“The decreases we can see across all types of organ transplant will lead to more deaths if we do not reverse this trend going forward.
“We know there is a combination of reasons for the decreases, but we cannot hope to save more lives unless UK citizens talk about organ donation with their families and agree to donate if ever they are asked.”
lTo join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.