Welsh Government
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First ever campaign to get Wales talking about organ donation

A pioneering campaign aimed at increasing the number of organ donors in Wales was launched yesterday (Tuesday 13 May).

The Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and led by the Kidney Wales Foundation, sees nine major charities come together for the first time in the UK to tackle the shortage of donors. It’s also the first time there’s been an organ donation campaign unique to Wales.

The campaign will be launched at 10:30am today at City Hall in Cardiff by First Minister Rhodri Morgan, Health Minister Edwina Hart, and Roy J. Thomas, Executive Chairman of the Kidney Wales Foundation.

Around 470 people in Wales are currently waiting for an organ transplant, but with a desperate shortage of donors many face the reality of having to wait years and the possibility they may even die while waiting.

In the last five years, more than 750 lives have been transformed by a transplant and the generosity of a donor. Sadly, in that time 150 people have died while waiting for a suitable donor organ – the equivalent of one person every fortnight.

More than 780,000 in Wales have joined the Organ Donor Register but that leaves three in four who haven’t. Many people do not talk to their loved ones about their views on organ donation, which means that families often refuse to allow organs to be donated simply because they are unaware of their wishes.

The campaign, which will run until September 2008, is set to get us talking about what we want to happen to our organs when we die and to encourage more of us in Wales to join the Organ Donor Register.

The campaign is backed by a number of Welsh celebrities including Colin Jackson, James Hook, Connie Fisher, Radio 1’s Aled Jones, Max Boyce, Feeder’s Grant Nicholas, Sarra Elgan, Iolo Williams, Ruth Madoc and Stuart Cable. Television adverts featuring the celebrities will be screened from Friday 16 May and a multi-media advertising campaign will feature the celebrities, website, series of summer events and targeted leaflet drop.

The campaign will also tackle some of the misconceptions surrounding organ donation, such as there being no age limit to joining the Register or restrictions because of a person’s sexuality. Likewise all the major religions support the principals of organ donation.

Edwina Hart said:

The Assembly Government is delighted to commit funding to this vital campaign. Discussing what happens to us and our organs after we die are things most people don’t really want to think about but it is important for people to discuss the possibility with family members. If they are aware of their loved one’s wishes, family members can find it comforting to know that some good has come from their bereavement.

Roy J. Thomas said:

The Donate Wales – Tell a Loved One campaign will get Wales talking about organ donation. If we are to bridge the gap between the number of people waiting for organs and the number of organs available, we need to start talking to our loved ones about our wishes to become organ donors when we die and make sure we all join the Organ Donor Register.

For more information or to join the Organ Donor Register visit www.donatewales.org

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