Following the successful launch of Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust’s (LTHT) Yorkshire wide ‘Be A Hero’ campaign in July, a remarkable 18,000 people signed the donor register in Yorkshire in just two months.
The campaign was launched with the aim of raising awareness of organ donation and encouraging more Yorkshire residents to sign the donor register. Last year, just over 100 people in Yorkshire donated an organ after their death, providing 294 lifesaving transplants but sadly there are still nearly 800 people in Yorkshire waiting for a transplant.
High profile and influential Yorkshire personalities have come forward in their masses to support the campaign, recording video messages, posing for photographs and speaking to fans and regional media to spread to message far and wide.
Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, cricket legends Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Joe Root, football clubs Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday, Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter and renowned journalist Maggie Philbin are amongst those backing the campaign. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is the campaign patron and visited children who have received and who are waiting for lifesaving transplants at Leeds Children’s Hospital.
Courageous Yorkshire families have shared their first hand experiences of organ donation to inspires others to sign the donor register. 17-year-old Akash Suryavansi from Harehills is on the transplant waiting list after discovering the kidney that his mother donated to save his life eleven years ago is failing.
Akash’s mother, Tina, described the response to the Be A Hero campaign: “The reaction to the campaign has been fantastic. I have found people’s kindness incredibly moving. After sharing Akash’s story, we were directly contacted by five people, two friends and three complete strangers, who offered to be tested to determine whether they were compatible to donate a kidney to my son. In the weeks after being linked with the campaign, we had hundreds more people tell us they’ve signed the register, stopping us in the streets, at school or walking down the corridors at work. It’s clear that the Be A Hero campaign has touched many lives and hopefully many more to come.”
We still need more people to think about their donation wishes, discuss those wishes with family and friends and sign up to the organ register. We hope many more people in Yorkshire will be touched by the Be A Hero campaign so that in future everyone in Yorkshire gets a transplant in time.