NHS Tayside has reached an organ donation high with four in ten people now signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
The health board now boasts the second highest percentage of sign-ups in the country, with 41.5 per cent of big-hearted Scots from the region registering their wish to become an organ donor.
Meg Park, 42, of Carnoustie and Ronnie McIntosh, 61, of Dundee whose lives were both saved by kidney transplants today unveiled the record figures on a giant map emblazoned with Scotland’s current sign up rates.
Thanking people from across the region for backing the life-saving campaign, Meg, who also received a pancreas transplant, said: “I am so grateful to my donor and their family for giving me the biggest gift anyone could ever give. I owe my life to someone I will never get to meet and that has always been very emotional for me.
“It is easy to forget day-to-day just how many people are waiting on life-saving transplants and how a signature can help to save someone else once you are gone.
“For me, the NHS Organ Donor Register has truly transformed my life and I can only hope that more people come to realise the difference that they can make by signing-up. I would encourage everyone to take two minutes and join today.”
Ronnie lost both his legs after kidney failure but is now back running again just three years after his transplant and has even competed in the British Transplant Games. He said: “I owe absolutely everything to the NHS Organ Donor Register and the person who selflessly donated their kidney so that I could live again. No words can ever express just how thankful I am.
“Personally, I think that agreeing to become an organ donor is the best and most important signature that anyone can ever put on a piece of paper. My transplant has changed my whole life – I feel better now than I have done in the last 25 years and despite all of the many challenges that I’ve been through, I wouldn’t swap my life now for anything.”
In the last five years NHS Tayside has increased sign ups from 32.1 percent to 41.5 percent of residents now on the Register.
The Scottish Government’s annual organ donation campaign has helped raise awareness and encourage more people to sign-up and discuss their wishes with their families, while NHS Tayside has worked with staff and local businesses to encourage more people to get behind the NHS Organ Donor Register and sign up.
Scotland now has the highest percentage of population registered in the UK at 38.1 percent compared to the UK average of 30 percent.
Dr Stephen Cole, co-chair of NHS Tayside’s organ donation committee, said: “We know people living in Tayside have big hearts and they’ve shown this with the record increases in our sign up figures for the NHS Organ Donor Register. It’s testament to their generous spirit and the work of everyone involved in organ donation to help raise awareness and encourage more people to join the Register.
“Every person waiting on a transplant means the world to someone else. We can all help others after we’ve gone and I would urge anyone who has not already done so, to make their wishes known by signing the Register today.”
Anyone over 12 can join the Register by texting LIFE to 61611 or sign up online at www.organdonationscotland.org