Why is organ donation so important?

It is estimated that around fifteen people a year in Northern Ireland die waiting for an organ transplant. Unsurprisingly, most people would accept an organ if they themselves were in need of one. Yet, 36% of the province have signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. By signing the register you could help save the lives of up to seven people.

Many of us are familiar with the need for kidney transplants, but transplants are regularly carried out on the heart, liver, lungs, pancreas and small bowel. Tissue such as corneas and heart valves can be donated and transplanted too.

To indicate you want to be a donor is to sign the Organ Donor Register. If you don't sign the register, it will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a donor, but it could mean your wish will not be fulfilled. In the event of a death, families give final consent for organ donation to take place, so whether you've signed the register or not, it's very important to talk to your loved ones about what you want.

Visit www.organdonationni.info to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. You can also call 0300 123 23 23.

Who can become an organ donor?

Anyone can become a donor no matter what age or health we are in, everyone is eligible. The number of transplants needed is rising due to an aging population and increases in illnesses such as diabetes, and kidney, heart and liver disease.

How WJ O'Donnell & Sons can help

Not everyone is fortunate to receive an organ donation in their time of need and we would never go against the wishes of an individual or family. If you're planning a funeral with us, we can talk over the benefits of becoming an organ donor as well as discussing this with your family. Many individuals feel it's a way to pass on knowing they have helped give the gift of life to someone else in need.

Whilst we can't sign you up to the register ourselves, we recommend you visit https://www.organdonationni.info and sign up there. You can also call 0300 123 23 23.