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Giving the gift of life by Suleman Nagdi MBE DL

People used to say that ‘whoever saves one life, saves the whole humanity’ and it seems it could not be truer. Every single day three people die in the UK waiting for a lifesaving organ, but what a better gift could one give to someone who is struggling with his own illness than becoming a donor?

Over 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant and far too few are willing to help, but giving life via organ donation is undoubtedly the greatest example of altruism in our society.

Doctors are able to take organs from people who have died and then give the gift of life
to someone who is waiting, existing in the shadow of their illness. Those who have the capability and compassion to grant another human the gift of life truly are the greatest amongst us.This gift can turn their life around.

Statistics show that almost half of the current 186 patients waiting for organ transplants in Leicestershire belong to ethnic minorities, in particular South Asian and Black communities, even though only 2% of people from these groups have signed up to the Organ Donation Register.

Members of these communities are more susceptible to illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease, but they have to wait on average about three times as long as other ethnic groups because of the chronic lack of successful matching donors.

The main issue is that many people have concerns about joining the Organ Donation Register and pledging their organs once they have died. Currently, the decrease of organ donations can be attributed to several reasons including a lack of understanding and education on the subject as well as uncertainty over whether it is religiously acceptable or not.

Seeking guidance and understanding is not necessarily a green light for organ donation, especially as the permission of the donor’s family is needed, but consulting professionals and faith leaders is a crucial issue. Education empowers individuals to gain an understanding of the need for organ donation and may end with them deciding to become organ donors themselves.

Organ donation can be a difficult topic within the community, but people are urged to look into their hearts and find the strength and bravery to become donors if they are able to do so. It is important to get together with family and friends and talk about how becoming an organ donor can really change many lives.

For more information about joining the Organ Donation Register please visit
or call the UK Donor Line on 0300 123 23 23

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