A NEW campaign designed to encourage Scots to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register has been launched.
The TV and radio campaign starts as the latest figures show that over 40 per cent of Scots have now joined the NHS Organ Donor Register – the highest percentage in the UK.
The campaign has been designed to get people talking about organ donation, to make their wishes known to their loved ones and to join the Register.
The campaign is backed by transplant patient Samantha Bell (22) who was diagnosed with severe cardiomyopathy.
Last year she underwent a heart transplant that saved her life.
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “I am very grateful to Samantha for telling her story and for backing our new campaign to get people talking about organ donation and increase the number of people on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Samantha’s story is a very real example of how important organ donation is, and how joining the Register could save lives.
“This new campaign has two simple yet equally important messages – join the Register and have a chat about organ donation with your family and loved ones.
“It can be easy to put off such conversations but the reality is that more than 600 people in Scotland are waiting for a life-saving transplant and across the UK three people die every day because they don’t get the organ they need in time.
“That 40 per cent of Scots are now on the Register - more than ever before and higher than the UK average of 31 per cent – shows we are on the right track.”
Samantha, a bank worker, underwent a lifesaving operation last year and is now backing the drive for more Scots to talk about organ donation with their loved ones and to join the Register.
She said: “I desperately needed a new heart and doctors moved me onto the urgent heart transplant list. I didn’t have time to wait, if I didn’t get a new heart soon I would die.”
In July last year, a suitable heart became available.
Samantha said: “The last thing I remember was thinking about what would happen when I came out and all the things I would be able to do. I had been in hospital for about three months by this point and I knew I was seriously ill so I was focusing on the positives.”
Samantha’s transplant was a success, and now, a year on from her op, she is focusing on the future. She added: “I would encourage everyone to take two minutes and join now. Remember to let your family know what your wishes are so they can act on them if necessary”
Join the NHS Organ Donor Register by visiting www.organdonationscotland.org or by texting LIFE TO 61611