The Department of Health and the Public Health Agency are urging everyone to talk to their family and friends about organ donation during Organ Donation Week (2-8 September).
The theme for this year’s Organ Donation Week is “Words Save Lives” and we are appealing to everyone to have the conversation. Let your family and friends know of your wishes to enable them to make a positive choice on your behalf. While approximately 45% of the Northern Ireland population has signed the Organ Donor register – we still need more.
The Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly said: “In Northern Ireland we are fortunate to have a good record of organ donation, which has enabled many people to receive the gift of life. However, with around 140 people currently waiting on a transplant we must do all we can to increase the number of donor organs available.
“I want to encourage everyone on Organ Donation Week to use this opportunity to discuss their wishes with friends and families and join the organ donor register.”
Monica Hackett, Regional Manager with the Northern Ireland Organ Donation Services Team, said:
“Last year in Northern Ireland, 46 donors and their families generously said yes to organ donation, giving the gift of life to 106 recipients. But we need more families to agree to donation for more transplants to take place.
“Our Specialist Nurses support families at a very traumatic time in their lives to discuss their views and feelings about organ donation. If you have never talked about organ donation, it can be difficult for your family to know what you would have wanted. We know that fewer families agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s wishes. I would encourage everyone to think about donation discuss it with your friends and family and join the organ donor register.”
A series of events are taking place this week, including the lighting up of iconic buildings such as Parliament Buildings, Titanic Belfast and various local council buildings. Many of these events have been organised by local charities and people who have either had a loved one who donated an organ to give the gift of life, have received a life-saving transplant, or who are currently waiting on an organ.