BIG-HEARTED Rotherham folk are being urged to talk about donating their organs after death as part of a National Transplant Week campaign.
NHS Blood and Transplant said a third of UK adults admitted they have not considered organ donation or decided if they wanted to be an organ donor after death.
Across South Yorkshire there are 226 people waiting for a transplant and last year the number of people donating organs in the UK fell for the first time in 11 years.
The UK also has one of the lowest rates in Europe for families consenting to organ donation and in 2014/15 only 58 per cent agreed to donate their family members’ organs after they died.
Organ donation made news two weeks ago when racing driver Justin Wilson’s organs were used in transplants following his death in an IndyCar crash.
To mark National Transplant Week which runs until Sunday, NHS Blood and Transplant is aiming get everyone talking again about organ donation and the importance of sharing decisions on being an organ donor with family and close friends.
Its new Seven Days to Say Yes I Donate campaign aims to help break down barriers and taboos around organ donation.
Anthony Clarkson, NHS Blood and Transplant’s assistant director for organ donation and nursing said: “Every day three people die in need of a transplant.
“Yet across the UK one in three adults haven’t considered organ donation or decided whether they want to be an organ donor.
“To save more lives we need more donors.
“To raise that number we really need everyone to understand the importance of not being complacent.
“We need to get to the point where organ donation is high on the list of important personal conversations we routinely have with loved ones.”
Last year 67 people in the county had their lives saved or transformed thanks to deceased organ donation.
Across South Yorkshire there are currently 386,132 people registered on the Organ Donor Register.
Mr Clarkson said there was a reluctance to talk about organ donation due to discomfort around talking about death and not wanting to upset family members.
Reluctance to talk about organ donation meant many healthy organs that could be donated were not used, he said.
Mr Clarkson added: “Telling your loved ones you want to be an organ donor means your family will be in no doubt about your decision meaning your wishes will be fulfilled should you die in circumstances where organ donation is possible.
“Over the next seven days we’d like everyone to give a few minutes of their time to think about organ donation and talk about whether they want to be an organ donor with their relatives or a close friend.”
For more information visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.
You can show your support for organ donation on social media during National Transplant Week by posting about your conversations using #sayidonate.