This Organ Donation Week (20th to 26th September) Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) is joining together with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to travel a combined 7000 miles in the ‘Race for Recipients’
Each mile will represent one of around 7000 people currently waiting for a transplant in the UK.
As part of this team effort, 20 members of staff from MFT and partner NHS Trusts across the North West are today (Thursday 23rd September) cycling over 70 miles between North West Transplant Centres. The route the cyclists will take will symbolise the journey donated organs take when they leave a donor and are taken to a patient waiting for a life-saving transplant.
Cyclists are travelling from Salford Royal Hospital, via MFT’s Oxford Road Campus in Manchester City Centre and Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, picking up more participants on the way, finishing at Nottingham City Hospital.
Dougal Atkinson, an anaesthetist at MFT, is one of the cyclists taking part. He said: “I’m thrilled to be supporting this cause and flying the flag for Organ Donation Week.
“By raising awareness, our ‘Race for Recipients’ aims to honour organ donors, recipients, and those waiting for a lifesaving transplant. We also want to encourage people to make their decision on organ donation, and to share their choice with their loved ones.”
The latest annual figures from NHSBT show that 213 lifesaving and transforming transplants were carried out at MFT last year (2020/21). 185 of these transplants were carried out by Manchester Royal Infirmary’s Renal Transplant Unit, and a further 28 took place at Wythenshawe Hospital’s Heart and Lung Transplant Centre.
MFT is the biggest NHS Trust in the UK, managing ten hospitals across Manchester and Trafford. Of these hospitals, Wythenshawe Hospital is a national leader in heart and lung transplants, while Manchester Royal Infirmary is home to one of the busiest kidney and pancreas transplant units in the country.
Professor Jane Eddleston, Joint Group Medical Director at MFT said: “Our transplant units and the dedicated teams that support them go above and beyond day after day to ensure transplant recipients are given the very best expert care and support. However, none of this vital work would be possible without the generosity and courage of transplant donors across the North West.
“This Organ Donation Week, we want to honour those that have donated organs, and to encourage everyone on the Organ Donor Register to ‘leave them certain’, by making their wishes clear to your loved ones.”
Over 2.5million people in the North West have opted in on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and each of these people are encouraged to tell their family of their wishes to help ensure their family supports their decision should the time come.
The law around organ donation changed in England in May 2020, and all adults are now considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die, unless they record a decision not to donate, are in one of the excluded groups or have told their family that they don’t want to donate.
However, relatives will still always be consulted before organ donation goes ahead and each year, opportunities for transplants are missed because families aren’t sure what to do.Raynie Thomson, a Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation based in the North West said: “In honour of our organ donors, their recipients and those waiting for a lifesaving transplant, we want to raise awareness around the gift of organ donation, encourage people to make their decision, register it on the Organ Donation Register and share their decision with their family and loved ones.
“The 7000 miles can be accumulated through walking, running, cycling, static equipment, walking the dog, a sports training session, doing the school run or just walking round the supermarket. Anything really…just being active and raising awareness, encouraging people to have the organ donation conversation with their loved ones.”
The cyclists taking part from MFT are Abby Rimmer, Dougal Atkinson, Jon Bannard-Smith, Marcus Arnold, Scott Houston, Tom Withers, and Jimmy Warburton
There is still time for members of the public to join in the Race for Recipients. Simply register here: https://forms.gle/8jpUditQvFyFXWns5