Celebs urge Black and Asian people to join organ donor register

Date published: 01 February 2012

Familiar faces including Shobna Gulati, of Coronation Street, Tony Morris, of ITV Granada Reports, and Ricky Whittle, of Hollyoaks, are backing NHS Blood and Transplant’s (NHSBT) new campaign to urge more Black and Asian people to join the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).

Currently, 26 per cent of patients awaiting organ transplants in Greater Manchester are from Black and Asian communities, yet these communities account for less than 2 per cent of people who have signed the ODR.

Jane Monks, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at NHSBT, said: “It is vital that more Black and Asian people join the NHS Organ Donor Register. The message is quite simple – more Black and Asian patients will have the opportunity to receive a life-saving transplant if more people from those communities join the Register.
“Transplants can be carried out between people from different ethnic groups, but an organ is more likely to be a close match, and as a result a transplant is much more likely to be successful, if the donor and recipient have the same ethnic origin. Becoming an organ donor means that you could help save or enhance up to nine lives.”

Offering his support for the campaign, actor Ricky Whittle from Hollyoaks said: "Tragically, numerous people die whilst waiting for an organ transplant due to the shortage of donors in the UK. In particular, Black, ethnic and rare blood groups can be forced to wait an average of three years or more to receive a kidney transplant among other life saving operations. I urge you to raise awareness of this shortage. Think about organ donation, think about saving lives. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register today. Encourage family members to honour and respect that decision to ensure the gift of life is passed on. Be the reason loved ones across the UK are given a second chance, wouldn't you want that for yours? You have the power to save lives, make a difference."

Actress Shobna Gulati who plays Sunita in Coronation Street added: “I used to think that organ donation was a difficult decision to make but then I realised you can leave a tangible legacy, and it's actually really straightforward. For our communities, putting your name on that Register could make a real difference. Just do it and encourage your family and friends too - we can all help save lives."

And Tony Morris, ITV Granada Reports presenter, said: “I've been on the NHS Organ Donor Register for a number of years and I strongly believe it's something everyone should do. The shortage of donors in Black and minority ethnic communities is a problem that won't go away until people come forward.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit or call the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 00 00 or text ORGAN to 64118

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