Fewer than one in three in Norfolk are on organ donation register

More than 260 people in Norfolk are waiting for a transplant, as it emerges just 31pc of people in the county are signed up to the organ donation register.

The latest figures, for May 2011, show that there are 263 people in Norfolk on the NHS Blood and Transplant waiting list, and 43 of those are in Norwich.

Mum-of-one Lesley Whittaker had two-and-a-half years of haemodialysis after she was diagnosed with end stage renal failure because of her type 1 diabetes.

The Norwich City Council money adviser had to go to hospital three days a week for three-and-a-half hours each time.

In 2008 she finally received a transplant, and Miss Whittaker said she had been saddened and humbled to learn that the donation came from an 11-year-old, particularly as her own daughter Hannah, now 18, was not much older at the time.

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The 45-year-old, from Norwich, said: 'The year before the transplant I was in the lord mayor's parade and I had to sit on the back of a lorry because I was so weak and ill.

'I had the transplant at the beginning of June in 2008 and by July I was walking the whole stretch of the parade and it had made a huge difference to my wellbeing.

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'It's a huge difference that donors can make to individuals' lives, and the lives of their families too, because it has made a difference to my daughter too.'

Tim Adamson, who has just returned from the World Transplant Games in Sweden with gold and silver medals in badminton, suffered kidney failure in 2002 due to a genetic condition.

The 42-year-old, from Old Costessey, Norwich, is backing the calls for more people to sign up to the register.

He said: 'I knew that it wasn't going to come from a live donor and from sombody who had been in an accident or just died and so I had mixed emotions because I was going to benefit from somebody else's loss.

'I am hugely grateful to that individual and their family for making that decision.'

Mr Adamson said his transplant had been 'near perfect' and his good health since has enabled him to enjoy family life with his wife Debbie and daughter Kathryn, 14, and to compete in the transplant games to demonstrate how donation can help recipients to lead active lives and to raise awareness of the issue.

Mr Adamson said: 'The more people who sign up, the more people can be helped, and not just individuals but their families too.'

To sign up to the register, log on to www. organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 1232323.

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