Share your decision
Whatever you decide, it’s important to make sure your donation decision is known to your family and friends
On World Kidney Day, everyone is encouraged to talk about their organ donation decision, and to consider living kidney donation.
More than 4,600 people, including nearly 100 children, are currently waiting for a kidney transplant across the UK, and in Northern Ireland that figure is around 78 people waiting for that lifesaving call. So the Public Health Agency is calling on everyone to share their organ donation decision and also take a moment to consider living kidney donation this World Kidney Day (Thursday 10 March 2022).
Living donor transplantation opens up opportunities for patients waiting for a kidney transplant by minimising the time people need to rely on dialysis and by offering patients who wait the longest i.e. those who are most difficult to match, are particularly ‘sensitised’ (which means they have higher levels of antibodies which could cause their body to reject a transplanted organ), the chance of a successful transplant.
Conor Patton from Banbridge, suffered kidney failure aged 9 and was on dialysis for 2 and a half years. He received a kidney transplant from his father John, in 2005. Now aged 29, Conor tells how his life was transformed and how the transplant has allowed him to live life to the full:
“I received my transplant 17 years ago from my dad and haven't looked back since. I've achieved some wonderful things in my life so far, best of all a loving partner and an amazing 3 year old son to top everything off. I've been to a number of British Transplant Games and to the World Transplant Games in Australia which was pretty awesome. If it wasn't for my transplant, ‘the gift of life’, none of this would have been possible.”
Conor finishes with this advice:
“Transplantation really does change lives. Be a hero, be a donor.”
People can donate a kidney in life to a particular individual (a relative, friend or someone they know who is in need of a transplant) or choose to donate anonymously where their kidney will either go to a high priority patient on the transplant list or create a chain of transplants via the UK living kidney sharing scheme.
Living donation is not for everyone and some people are not suitable donors, so the majority of kidney patients will still be saved by a deceased organ donor. So it remains extremely important to tell your family about your organ donation decision to help those on the waiting list.
Even though the law around organ donation in Northern Ireland will change to an opt out system next Spring 2023, many people are not aware that families will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.
Catherine Coyle, Public Health Consultant and Organ Donation lead at the Public Health Agency, commented:
“Sadly patients continue to wait for the call to receive the gift of life. And with around 78 patients awaiting a kidney transplant in Northern Ireland, it’s more important than ever this World Kidney Day to share your organ donation decision with those close to you, to help others after your death. If anyone is willing to consider living kidney donation, they can find out more on our website.”
The Public Health Agency encourages conversations about organ donation across all generations in society, and is delighted to be hosting a virtual schools webinar for Year 13 and 14 pupils to learn more about the importance of kidneys and kidney health, as well as the importance of transplantation.
For more information, or to register your organ donation decision, please visit: www.organdonationni.info/register-now or call 0300 123 23 23. Please tell your family about your organ donation decision to help leave them certain.