A TOTAL of 52 people in Worcestershire are waiting for a much-needed transplant to help transform their lives.
Figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant coincide with the launch of a new organ donation campaign ‘The Wait’ to highlight the true scale of the donor organ shortage.
However the numbers waiting in Worcestershire show only a small part of the UK picture.
Of the almost 7,000 patients currently on the UK’s transplant waiting list, 30 per cent have been waiting more than two years. And more than 500 of them have been waiting longer than five years – more than 1,800 days each.
Almost 49,000 people in the UK have endured the wait for an organ transplant in the last 10 years and more than 6,000 – including 270 children – have died before receiving the transplant they desperately needed.
A total of 24 people living in Worcestershire have died between April, 2011 and November this year because of the shortage of organs.
The campaign launched with the screening of a 14 hour film capturing a day in the life of patient Simon Howell and his family.
Born with a serious kidney condition, renal dysplasia, Simon had his first kidney transplant in 2005 thanks to his mum offering to be a living donor. Unfortunately, in 2009, the kidney failed. Simon was added to the transplant waiting list for a new kidney and has been waiting longer than six years already.
The brave 41-year-old allowed cameras to record the reality of just one of the many days he has spent waiting for a suitable organ to highlight just how difficult life is on the transplant waiting list.
His day is dominated by his illness and is punctuated with four life-saving sessions of dialysis, indescribable fatigue and constant uncertainty for the future.
Simon said: “I’ve been on dialysis for five years. For me, it’s the most difficult part of the wait.
Dialysis keeps me alive whilst I wait for a transplant; but that’s all it does. I’m in limbo.
“My family and I are on a rollercoaster, I can’t see the twists and turns or how it will end. But a transplant would completely transform my health and all our lives.”
Sally Johnson, NHS Blood and Transplant director of organ donation and transplantation said:
“Simon’s journey has already been a long and difficult one and while we are doing everything we can to make sure he gets the transplant he needs, the NHS cannot do this without help from other people.
“Sadly though, Simon is not alone. Statistically, more than one in ten people on the waiting list will die before they get the transplant they need. For some organs, the picture is significantly bleaker.
More than one in four people waiting for lungs will die.”
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.