FOURTEEN people in North and East Yorkshire have died because of the shortage of organs in the past year, health officials revealed today.
There are currently 125 people in North Yorkshire waiting for a transplant, and another 66 waiting in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
NHS Blood and Transplant has highlighted the figures during National Transplant Week to encourage people to spell out their decision to be an organ donor.
Officials say they want to increase awareness that the decision to donate a loved one’s organs falls to the family if people die in circumstances where it can be given.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation, said: “Last year 53 people living in North Yorkshire and 22 in East Yorkshire benefited from a life-saving organ transplant thanks to families making the decision to donate when a loved one died, a decision that we know makes them incredibly proud.
“We know that families are much less likely to allow organ donation to go ahead if they don’t know it’s what their loved one wanted."
Kath Aveyard, who decided with her husband Rob to donate their daughter Bryony’s organs after she suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage in 2008, has backed the NHS Blood and Transplant message.
She said that organs removed from Bryony had helped four adults and a couple of babies, and she had found it quite an easy decision to 'do something positive' and donate them.
She thought it far better if people spelt out their preference to be an organ donor, so that their family knew that was what their loved one had wanted.
Osbaldwick man Andy Henwood's life was transformed when he had a kidney transplant in 2011.
The 57 said he had enjoyed a good quality of life before he became ill, but a diagnosis of renal failure saw that plummet. He relied on dialysis three times a week and was tied to hospital renal units.
"The difference an organ donation can make to someone and their whole family is incredible."
Now Andy and many of his friends and family have signed up to become organ donors, and he encourages others to do the same.
Andy added: "Personally, I would willingly give anything to help someone else."
For more information and to register your organ donation decision go to www.transplantweek.co.uk