NHS Lothian says "Sign Up to Save a Life"

NHS Lothian has launched a new campaign to urge more people to give the gift of life by joining the donor register.

The health board has teamed up with scores of big businesses and organisations, as well as patients to kick start “Sign Up to Save A Life”.

The campaign, which includes a short film from brothers Brian and Bruce Findlay who underwent a transplant earlier this year, is designed to encourage people living in Lothian to join the national organ and tissue register.

Music mogul Bruce, 66, donated a kidney to his big brother Brian, 73, in an act of outstanding brotherly love at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in the summer.

The pair, who are making a full recovery, are now helping to spearhead the campaign to increase the number of donors available.

Bruce, former manager of rock band Simple Minds, said:

 “Neither of us had ever thought of organ donation until Brian fell unwell. It was my brother, a loved one so it was a no-brainer. Anyone would have done the same.
“It is a big thought, a big thing to consider and you must make sure your family are aware of what you are going to do. But I would urge everyone to do it.”

Brian added:

 “If we could encourage anyone to join the register then I would say do it. You never think this is going to happen to you, but this did happen to us and we have done it and come through it.
“By joining the register you are doing something great for your fellow man.”

Lothian already has one of the highest numbers of people on the register in Scotland so far, but NHS Lothian wants to increase the number from 42 per cent to at least 50 per cent of the population.

NHS Lothian has asked the heads of household name businesses, organisations, colleges and universities to help increase the number by encouraging their staff to learn more about organ donation.

A dedicated website, www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/signuptosavealife text number, mobile phone app and real-life short films have been created to make it as easy as possible for organisations to join in.

And for potential donors on the go, it couldn’t be simpler - they can join up by texting “fifty” on their mobile phone to number 61611.

It comes after NHS Lothian and the University of Edinburgh marked the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first live donor kidney transplant at the weekend (Saturday).

Identical twins Lewis and Martin Abbott, 49, underwent the first procedure of its kind in Britain on October 30th 1960.

The major medical milestone was used as a launch pad for the campaign and saw one of the UK’s first transplant patients, Linda Phillips, 53, return to the RIE.

Consultant transplant surgeon John Forsythe, of the Transplant Unit at the RIE and national lead transplant surgeon, said the campaign would help make a real difference.

He added:

 “Transplant is now one of the most successful modern medical procedures. We need more people to join the register because they really can help save lives. It doesn’t take long, but it could make the world of difference.”