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Five people a year die waiting for an organ in Norfolk

Rachel Shingler had a heart transplant 2 years ago which led to the failure of her kidneys. She now has  been doanted a kidney from her mother, Aylwin.
Picture: Nick Butcher

Rachel Shingler had a heart transplant 2 years ago which led to the failure of her kidneys. She now has been doanted a kidney from her mother, Aylwin. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Five people a year die in Norfolk waiting for a organ transplant, it can be revealed.

The figures, which show 25 people from the area have died waiting for a transplant in the last five years, were released to mark the start of Organ Donation Week today (Monday) and to encourage families to talk about organ donation.

Despite the fact more and more people are supporting donating their loved one’s organs, there is still an urgent need for more people to support donation.

Last year, 56 people in Norfolk had their lives saved by a transplant.

But if more people agreed to donate, more lives would be saved in Norfolk and around the country.

In Norwich alone six people received a transplant last year, but five people died on the waiting list in the last five years in the city.

There are around 6,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant across the UK.

Rachel Shingler, who grew up in Norwich, is only alive today because a stranger signed up to donate.

She was diagnosed with a rare condition called Danon disease, and needed a heart transplant to survive.

She received a donation from a 34-year-old woman from Northern Ireland, but her kidneys suffered in recovery and it was then down to her mother, Aylwin, who offered her a kidney.

Ms Shingler said: “If I’m perfectly honest, before my illness, organ donation was probably the furthest thing from my mind. I never thought that one day I may need one donor, let alone two, to prolong my life.”

But she added: “My new heart remains a constant reminder of the incredible kindness of my donor and her family, allowing me and the five others she saved, to continue living.”

During Organ Donation Week, the NHS is urging families to talk about donation with the message.

Councils and organisations around the country are lighting prominent buildings pink, which is the colour of the modern donor card, in support of the country’s organ donation campaign.

The buildings being lit up pink include Norwich Castle.

Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “It’s tragic that so many people from Norfolk have died waiting for a transplant – what is shocking is that many of those lives could have been saved, had more families agreed to donate organs.

“People are dying every day because some families are not talking about donation.

“We need more families in Norfolk to say yes to organ donation, so that more lives can be saved.”

He added: “We all know that organ donation legislation will change to a deemed consent system in England and Scotland in future years but the harsh fact is people are dying right now waiting for an organ and it will still be important for people to know your decision.

“We don’t want people to die because of a fatal complacency that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too.”

• For information on organ donation visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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