Thousands more lives being saved across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire thanks to boost in Organ Donation Register numbers

An organ donation box arriving at a hospital for a transplant operation. Picture: SENT IN BY NHS BLO

An organ donation box arriving at a hospital for a transplant operation. Picture: SENT IN BY NHS BLOOD AND TRANSPLANT - Credit: SENT IN BY NHS BLOOD AND TRANSPLANT

Nearly 2,000 people are being kept alive across East Anglia thanks to organ transplants.

A "Yes I donate" NHS organ donor card. Picture: BRD ASSOCIATES

A "Yes I donate" NHS organ donor card. Picture: BRD ASSOCIATES - Credit: BRD Associates

In Norfolk that figure has reached 672, some 669 people have been saved in Cambridgeshire and 544 people have been helped in Suffolk.

Across Britain, 50,000 people are being kept alive because of transplants and the number of people on the Organ Donor Register has reached a record 23.6 million.

But despite the boom in numbers, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging more people to join the register to help save the lives of others.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: 'More people than ever are committing to organ donation and that is saving more lives than ever. It's amazing to picture all the people now alive today thanks to organ donation and think of all the families and children who have grown up thanks to donors.

Heart transplant survivor Ella Tovell pictured in 2013 when she was 16. She is now 20-years-old. PH

Heart transplant survivor Ella Tovell pictured in 2013 when she was 16. She is now 20-years-old. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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'We're seeing more and more people committing to donation and the good results of our close work with hospitals. Our specialist nurses in organ donation are now almost always involved in discussions with families over organ donation.

'However there is still a long way to go. Around three people still die a day in need of a transplant. Every one of those people who died could be a mother or a father, a daughter or a son, who might be alive today.

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'Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process. We don't want anyone to miss the opportunity to save lives through organ donation. Please join the NHS Organ Donor Register. It only takes two minutes.'

There is still a shortage of organ donors, according to NHS Blood and Transplant, which reported that 6,400 people in Britain were waiting for a transplant.

It added there are not enough organ donations from the black and Asian community.

Across Norfolk and Suffolk, the number of people the number of people on the register has increased by 28pc over the past five years.

In Cambridgeshire, that number has gone up by 27pc.

Across all three counties there are nearly one million people on the register.

To sign up visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 2323.

NORFOLK CASE STUDIES

A young woman and father-of-four whose lives were saved from vital organ transplants are urging people to sign up to the national register.

Ella Tovell, 20, from Upper Staithe Road in Stalham, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy – an enlarged left ventricle – as a newborn.

She had a full heart transplant aged 14.

Miss Tovell, who volunteers at an infant school near Stalham and is back to full health, said: 'My transplant completely changed my life. The gift of life is so good. I'll be forever grateful to my donor.'

Mark Claflin, 57, from Woodland Road in New Costessey, had a kidney and pancreas transplant at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, in 2010, after suffering serious Type 1 diabetes.

Mr Claflin said: 'The transplant saved my life. I think people should put their names on the Organ Donation Register no matter who they are. It is vital.'

ORGAN TRANSPLANT HISTORY

Transplant operations have come on a long way since they first appeared on the medical scene in the early 20th century.

Below is a potted history of the medical marvel.

1902 - French doctor Alexis Carrel demonstrates the joining of blood vessels to make organ transplant feasible for the first time.

1918 - During the First World War, blood transfusion becomes firmly established making many life-saving operations possible for the first time.

1960 - The UK's first donor kidney transplant is performed at The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

1968 - Britain's first heart transplant is carried out by a team of 18 doctors and nurses in London.

1968 - Prof Roy Calne performs the UK's first liver transplant at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

1994 - The NHS Organ Donor Register is set up to co-ordinate supply and demand following a five-year campaign.

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