A CHRISTMAS list campaign has been launched to remind residents they can give the gift of a lifetime by signing up as an organ donor.
This festive season, 67 people in Worcestershire are waiting for a transplant with thousands more on lists across the UK.
New figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant show 34 patients have died while on the waiting list during the past five years, while 37 others received a transplant in 2014 thanks to families agreeing to donate a loved one’s organs.
Emma Lawson, specialist nurse in organ donation, said: “It is humbling to work with people following the loss of a loved one at any time of year, not just at Christmas, and it is very rewarding to fulfil the wishes of a donor and their family to save lives.
“Organ donors save or improve the quality of life of seriously ill patients. For many patients a transplant is the only option left and their life depends on families agreeing to donate.”
She urged people in Worcestershire to join the organ donor register and tell those closest to them their decision.
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation, added: “Every year thousands of patients on the waiting list in Worcestershire and around the country have a Christmas clouded with anxiety and uncertainty.
“Some severely ill people might spend the whole of Christmas in hospital, just hoping they get a life-saving transplant.
“While for others, their condition may mean they can’t enjoy Christmas traditions like the rest of us.
“For example, people waiting for a kidney transplant may not be able to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner because eating the wrong food may make them more unwell.
“Quite simply, there is a shortage of donated organs but if more families agreed to donate a loved one’s organs, more people would get the transplants they need.”
To join the register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 123 2323 or text SAVE to 62323.