The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is calling to people to speak to their family members about organ donation.
His appeal comes as part of Organ Donation Week which runs this month.
This seven-day campaign is held annually to highlight the life-changing impact of organ donation, encourage more registered donors and ensure family members discuss their decisions.
Councillor Sean Bateson recently met with local Organ Donation Specialist Nurse Mary McAfee to hear more about the importance of organ donation and show his support for the awareness-raising initiative.
“Our healthcare professionals are there to support those people waiting on a transplant, as well as families who find themselves facing a decision about organ donation following the death of relative. By letting your family know that you want to be an organ donor then you could help to save the life of someone’s mother or father, son or daughter. During Organ Donation Week, make sure you have this vital conversation so that your wishes can be fulfilled and your family know they are doing the right thing for you.”
A recent survey found that while 84% agreed it was important to let those closest to them know their views on organ donation, only 40% had shared their decision with their family or partner.
Mary McAfee, who works in Coleraine’s Causeway Hospital said: “Through my work I witness at first hand the positive impact of organ donation. One of its biggest rewards is the belief that you are giving bereaved families something good to focus on after the death of a loved one, and knowing that they are contributing to saving lives through the gift of donation.
“In the UK three people die each day waiting on an organ transplant. Here in Northern Ireland 9 people died last year waiting on a lifesaving transplant. Locally there are approximately 200 people waiting on a life-saving transplant. Only 47% of the population here have registered their wish to be a donor on the NHS Organ Donor Register. We need more organ donors so that everyone who needs a transplant may have one.
“With support from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, we are calling on people to help change this situation during Organ Donation Week by speaking to their family members and making sure they sign the register.”
To find out more about organ donation and to sign the register go to www.organdonationni.info