Support Organ Donation Week 2017

Blog post by NHS Blood and Transplant

Monday 4 September 2017

Last year 177 families did not agree to organ donation because they didn’t know what their loved one wanted, resulting in around 460 missed lifesaving transplants. This Organ Donation Week we’re reminding people that a few words can make an extraordinary difference.

Right now, there are around 6,400 people waiting for an organ transplant and on average, 3 people die every day across the UK because not enough organs are being donated.

Although more than half a million people die each year across the UK, only around 1 in 100 die in circumstances where their organs can be donated, so we need to ensure that every potential donor who wants to donate is not prevented from doing so because they have not told their family.

We want to make sure that people are supported in their decision by their relative by encouraging them to express their decision to them now.

Our ambition

We want to highlight that organ donation is lifesaving, and that people shouldn’t put off talking to their family about it because the role of the family is crucial to their decision being supported. Through real stories, we want to give people insight into what it is like to be faced with making a decision about organ donation within families, and that talking about donation to make that decision easier is straight-forward.

Most people have not talked about organ donation with their friends or family. We want to change this. You don’t know when or where your family might be approached about organ donation

The campaign

Organ Donation Week takes place from Monday 4 – Sunday 10 September 2017 and aims to inspire people to talk about organ donation by reminding them that a few words can make an extraordinary difference.

With a range of emotional films including one featuring a pair of young brothers who can have more hugs thanks to organ donation, we hope this year’s campaign will make a difference and bring hope to all those on the transplant waiting list.

Our activity

We want to make talking about organ donation as easy as possible and a normal thing to do. We have developed a campaign page a pile of digital assets to download, and a range of films to show why it’s so important to discuss your decision with your family.

There will be lots of activity on our social pages throughout the week. We’ll be sharing campaign assets and real life stories about donation and transplantation and how people have had conversations, including some moving videos we have created with donor families. We’ll also be using paid social to promote our content and the need for having a chat across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We’ve also worked with print, broadcast and online media across the country to encourage them to tell personal stories of donation and transplantation and demonstrate how organ donors transform lives. We are encouraging hospitals (via our specialist nurses) to promote organ donation in the local media and our clinical leads and specialist nurses will be running events throughout Organ Donation Week and beyond, to help raise awareness and provide information to people about organ donation.

We will also be running a Parliamentary event in partnership with Kidney Care UK to promote the importance of organ donation to MPs.

How can individuals support the campaign?

We’re encouraging families to start a discussion about what they would do if one of them needed a transplant. By focusing on an organ donation story, we hope people will realise that having a chat about what they want is easier than it might seem.

Individuals can help inspire people by sharing stories, posting on their social media pages, commenting on and sharing our campaign content and chatting about organ donation with their own families.

Use the toolkit we have developed as part of the campaign. Take the subject into work and have a chat, visit the campaign page on our website, and start talking about donation now.