COMMENT: Donating an organ can save and change a life
Imagine being on the waiting list for a transplant and hoping and praying that an organ becomes available that is the right match.
When the call finally comes and the operation takes place, it is truly life-changing.
Just ask Simon Bornhoft, a professional windsurfer from Hayling Island, who has had two kidney transplants since being diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 1998.
The 52-year-old says: ‘For a transplant recipient, 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.’
And then there is Nicole Mackenzie from Waterlooville, who 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 won seven gold medals in the World Transplant Games earlier this month and explains: ‘It means such a lot to receive an organ, and I felt so lucky to have one from my own family.’
They are just two out of many people whose lives have been completely transformed by having a transplant.
So it is brilliant news that new figures reveal more than 50,000 people in this country are now alive thanks to organ donation.
But what’s even more encouraging is that the number of people on the donor register has grown from 30 per cent five years ago to 36 per cent today.
There is definitely more awareness of organ transplants and the importance of donation. But we agree with Mr Bornhoft when he says he would like to see signing up for the register becoming more automatic - ‘like getting a driving licence or registering to vote’.
Because wouldn’t you want to be able to save a life and change a life?