Give The Gift Of Life

The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust is holding an Organ Donation Awareness Week on 24 November 2014 to support the ‘Speak Up and Save a Life’ campaign highlighting the importance of organ donation in Northern Ireland. Organ donation is not something we think about every day, but with a real shortage of organs more donors are desperately needed in the South Eastern Trust area.

Around 200 people in Northern Ireland are on the transplant waiting list and sadly around 15 people die each year waiting for an organ. Despite support for organ donation being extremely high, just 31% of the population here are on the organ donor register. Only 55% of families agree to donation going ahead if they are unaware of their loved one’s wishes.

dn_screenBilly Kelly made the difficult decision to donate his wife’s organs when she died. Mr Kelly commends the organ donor specialist nurse who helped him and his family make the decision to donate. Mr Kelly believes that donating his wife’s organs created meaning out of her tragic death. He is so pleased that not only the donor recipient’s lives have been transformed by the transplant but also the lives of their family and loved ones. Mr Kelly is on the donor register and encourages others to join and let their nearest and dearest know their wishes so that they are prepared should they ever have to make the decision about donating a family member’s organs.

Jim Moore is so grateful that he was given the gift of life a year ago. Jim received a double lung transplant changing not only his life but his family’s too. Before the transplant, Jim was unable to do simple things like hold a conversation or go for a walk. He now enjoys playing in the garden with his grandchildren and dog. Jim’s wife urges people to be on the organ donor register as this transplant has so positively impacted her family’s life. She said: “Organs are no good to you in heaven but can make such a huge difference on earth.”

Dr John McAteer, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation said: “All health professionals have a duty of care and will always strive to save a life. However, if a patient dies despite their best effort, it may become possible to consider organ donation. If you are one of the few people who are suitable for organ donation then you can transform and save up to nine lives.”

Heather Savage, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, further added: “Organs will only be used if that is your wish so please ‘Speak Up and Save a Life’ and have that conversation about your wishes with your family today. You can indicate your wishes in a number of ways such as telling a relative or close friend, by carrying an organ donor card or recording your wishes on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Putting your name on the NHS Organ Donor Register makes it easier for the NHS to establish your wishes and for those closest to you in life to follow them”.

The Trust has created a video to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and this can be found on the organ donation page on the website at the following link:

To sign on the NHS Organ Donor Register visit:

If you would like further information on Organ Donation please contact Heather Savage, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation on (028) 9041 1470 or