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Kind-hearted students launch organ donation campaign

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Kind-hearted students at the University of St Andrews have joined forces with the NHS to help promote organ donation.

Students sign up for organ donation

Mrs Richardson (back centre) helps St Andrews students register their support for organ donation.

The University’s Organ Donation Society has teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant to raise awareness of organ donation among its students and staff.

The unique initiative was inspired by the tragic death of St Andrews student Alex Richardson in 2009.  His mother, Annie, conceived the idea and has worked closely with the NHS and St Andrews’ students to develop the scheme. 

Mrs Richardson said, “Alex loved St Andrews and as a family it seems appropriate to us that the university partnership scheme is being launched here.  The loss of a child for any family is devastating but it gives us some comfort that his organs have helped change the lives of four people, especially the man who received his very special heart.  The message going forward is, Think about the ODR - Talk about the ODR - Act and register for the ODR.”

Launched this week as a pilot programme, the partnership is the first of its kind between NHS Blood and Transplant and a university Society.

The President of the Organ Donation Society at St Andrews, Nicole Imray, said, “In March 2009 one of our students, Alex Richardson, died as a result of a fall. Alex became a multiple organ donor and his donated organs have helped save the lives of four people. Since then we have been working with his mother, Annie Richardson, to promote organ donation at St Andrews.

“We are delighted to have been asked by NHS Blood and Transplant to be their first University Organ Donation Society Partner. Creating this society was an exciting challenge and provides the opportunity to spread the word about organ donation and get more information out there.”

The partnership aims to increase the number of young people who make the choice to help others by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.  They will also promote the importance of discussing their wishes with their friends and families.

During the coming year the St Andrews’ Organ Donation Society will test the effectiveness of their student led campaign, which will help in the foundation of similar partnerships with universities across the UK.

There are 10,000 people in the UK currently waiting for an organ transplant and three people die every day because there are not enough organs available. Over 90% of the UK’s population say that they support organ donation, yet only 31% have joined the NHS Organ Donor Register.  One donor can save or transform up to seven lives and many more can be helped through the donation of tissues.

Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ donation, NHS Blood and Transplant said, “In order to help more patients receive the transplants they need, it’s vital that people sign up to the Organ Donor Register now and let those closest to them know their wishes.

“I’m sure that the enthusiasm shown by President of the St Andrews’ Organ Donation Society, Nicole Imray, and the other members will encourage St Andrews’ students and staff to support their campaign and be proud to do their bit for others in agreeing to be an organ donor.”

More information on joining the Organ Donation Register.

Ends

Note to Editors

For further information on the Organ Donation Register, please contact the NHSBT press office on 01923 367600 or email pressoffice@nhsbt.nhs.uk

Nicole Imray is available for interview via the University Press Office – contacts below.


Issued by Gayle Cook, Senior Communications Manager. Contact 01334 467227 or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk

Ref: Big Hearts 200213

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