The Northern Trust is encouraging Newtownabbey residents to ‘speak up and save a life’ through an organ donation campaign.
The campaign, being run by the Public Health Agency, is aimed at raising awareness of the issue of organ donation in Northern Ireland.
Despite support for organ donation being extremely high, recent figures show just 31% of the population in Northern Ireland are on the organ donation register.
In Newtownabbey Borough, 27 per cent of the population are on the organ donation register.
Mary McAfee, organ donation specialist nurse with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, said: “It is encouraging to see people in Newtownabbey Borough Council area already on the register; however we need more people to get behind this campaign.
“In Northern Ireland, almost 200 people are currently waiting for a transplant and sadly the chance will come too late for many.”
The campaign, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, takes a testimonial approach which shows the impact of organ donation from the recipient and the donor family perspectives, highlighting the importance of sharing our organ donation wishes with loved ones.
Mary continued: “Evidence shows that consent rates increase where families have discussed organ donation wishes so if you want your organs to be available for donation it is important that you discuss your wishes with the people closest to you so that, if the time ever comes, they will find it easier to carry out your wishes.”
“One person can save the lives of up to seven people through organ donation but we need more people to have the conversation and to sign up to the organ donation register.”
Dr Eddie Rooney, chief executive of the PHA and chair of the Northern Ireland Committee for Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “Organ donation really is the gift of life. The generosity of donors and their families can enhance or saves the lives of recipients all across Northern Ireland.”
“We want everyone to talk about organ donation with family and close friends so they are aware of their wishes and to encourage them to sign the organ donor register.”
“If you haven’t already signed the register or would like more information, please take the time to visit www.organdonationni.info which is packed full of information and resources.”