New figures show more people in Yorkshire are donating their organs

More people in Yorkshire and the Humber are donating their organs.
More people in Yorkshire and the Humber are donating their organs.

Soaring numbers of people in Yorkshire and the Humber are saving lives by donating their organs.

New figures reveal 130 people in the region became lifesaving deceased organ donors in 2017-18, a rise of 110 per cent since a decade ago.

Manpreet Singh (right) with his brother and nephew.

Manpreet Singh (right) with his brother and nephew.

But nearly 500 people in the county are on a transplant list, awaiting an organ donation.

NHS Blood and Transplant has released the figures to mark the publication of its annual Transplant Activity Report today, revealing growing support for organ donation nationally.

The donations in Yorkshire and the Humber helped the UK reach a record over the last year, with 1,574 people saving lives through deceased organ donation.

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to all the families in Yorkshire and the Humber who have chosen to say ‘yes’ to organ donation.

"Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation. We want more people to have that opportunity.”

Despite the support, there is an overall shortage of donors and around three people die every day in need of a donated organ.

As of May this year, there were 493 people from Yorkshire and the Humber on the transplant waiting list.

Manpreet Singh, from Morley, has kidney disease lgA nephropathy and went on the transplant waiting list for a kidney last year. His brother Gurpeet, 30, is a match to donate but needs to reduce is body weight before the transplant can go ahead.

Although diagnosed in his teens, Mr Singh lived a relatively normal life through managing his blood pressure until 2011 when his condition deteriorated. He was put on a course of steropids that caused him to gain so much weight that he could not even recognise his own face. He was deemed to have kidney failure in 2016 and later develop pneumonia.

Mr Singh, a patient of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, had to leave his full time job in PR and marketing, but he tries to stay positive.

Despite undergoing three, four-hour dialysis sessions per week, he now runs his own digital marketing business, guest lectures for Leeds Trinity University, helps to administer his own treatment and has even run 5km for charity.

But he said: "I can only do so much. I can’t lead a normal life.

"My whole family went to India but I couldn’t travel with them because of the risks. If I walk 200 metres I get tired. You don’t have any fresh blood going around your body, all the toxins are constantly building up in your blood. You have to change your lifestyle – it’s adapt or die.”

Mr Singh, who is a Sikh, was not aware of the urgent need for more donors from an Asian background.

He said: “I feel like people often only think about these things when it affects your own family and culturally, and also with religion, there are things to overcome such as the thought that you need all your organs with you are cremated or buried. I think there needs to be more awareness about how badly more donors are needed.”

Nationally, around 38 per cent of the population is on the NHS Organ Donor Register. In our region, that figure drops to 35 per cent.

The annual Blood and Transplant report said an ageing population means the average age of potential donors is increasing. And in Yorkshire, more people aged 50 are needed to support donation.

Ms Johnson said: “People in older age groups can still save and transform lives through organ and tissue donation. Many more lives could be saved by telling their families they want to donate.”

The Be a Hero campaign, led by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and backed by the Yorkshire Evening Post saw 50,000 people in Yorkshire sign the organ donor register.