I am 21 years old and this year underwent a successful kidney transplant. Today in Britain, over 7,500 people are waiting for an organ donor. 1000 will die next year. Although 90% of Brits support organ donation, just 25% have signed the Organ Donor Register. One of the keys to solving this is through the education of the children and young people of Britain.
The Gift of Life campaign will encourage people to think and talk about Organ Donation. Through education, the campaign will raise awareness of Organ Donation, dispel common myths and encourage more people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register: potentially saving and transforming lives. (www.thegiftoflife.org.uk)
As part of my campaign I created a national awareness day, Donor Day, on Tuesday 7th April. It was a great success and I have been informed by NHS Blood and Transplant that on that particular day 15 times more people than normal signed up to the donor register. I also received the backing of the Prime Minister and have been invited to meet with him. (http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page18965)
If I ( along with the help of volunteers, the Live Life Then Give Life charity and my mentors) was able to do this in one day with a small budget, imagine what might be possible with more young people involved?
I know that you and the Department for Children Schools and Families have been involved with getting the Give and Let Live project into schools and have sent letters out to schools about this project. However I know that 250 schools were contacted for a telephone interview, and of these, 63% had no record or recollection of the letter being received. Of the 28% who were aware of the letter every single one (100%) had decided NOT to implement the government's education programme in their school.
What I think needs to happen...
•There needs to be more Education and awareness of Organ Donation as a whole.
•The programme needs to be taught in schools for example during citizenship or Personal and Social Education, via the Give and Let Live project or a speaker’s project.
•More funding is required to advertise Organ Donation – perhaps on similar lines to the advertisements for the donation of blood.
•More funding is required in the area of Organ Donation and a better use of resources is needed so that more transplants take place – i.e more donor coordinators should be employed throughout the country.
•The UK Transplant website needs upgrading so it is more user friendly and attractive to younger people. Both cosmetic changes and other changes need to be made so that it is easier to sign up and to pass on the message to others to encourage them to sign up too.
•The power of the web and of peer-to-peer recommendation needs to be harnessed and we have offers from leading technologists to help explore this.
I have received the support of organ donors and recipients, the national media, celebrities and even the Prime Minister. My goal is to work alongside DCSF to get Britain’s children and young people engaged in this important subject.
I would be happy to meet with one of your team at any time to discuss these ideas further.