TRANSPLANT patients from the Portsmouth area have spoken of their delight after new figures showed more than 50,000 people are now alive thanks to organ donation.
Data from NHS Blood and Transplant for the UK shows 50,300 successful transplants have been recorded, while a third of people are now on the register.
Nicole Mackenzie, from Waterlooville, was diagnosed with renal artery stenosis - a narrowing of the arteries - at three and received a kidney transplant from her dad David when she was 11.
The 19-year-old, who won seven gold medals in the World Transplant Games in Malaga earlier this month, said: ‘I couldn’t believe the number of patients when I saw it - I think there has been a larger number because there is more awareness of organ transplants now.
‘It means such a lot to receive an organ, and I felt so lucky to have one from my own family.’
The figures show there have been 36,300 kidney transplant patients, 1,900 who received a new pancreas, 3,900 people with new hearts or lungs or both, 9,800 with new livers and 1,000 who received new intestine.
Some patients have received more than one organ, such as a new kidney and a pancreas.
Just over a third of people - 36 per cent - are now on the register, compared with 30 per cent five years ago.
Professional windsurfer Simon Bornhoft, from Hayling Island, has had two kidney transplants since being diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 1998.
The 52-year-old said: ‘For a transplant recepient you cannot express enough how life changing it is.
‘I was breathless, and not able to walk up stairs. But now I’ve been able to travel the world.
‘What I’d like to see is signing up for the list becoming more automatic, like getting a drivers licence or registering to vote.’
Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: ‘More people than ever are agreeing to organ donation and that is saving more lives than ever.’
To join the register, visit organdonation.nhs.uk.