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A group of hospital ‘patients’ dressed in surgical gowns and pushing saline drips took to the streets of London today to highlight the shocking fact that three people die every day in need of an organ transplant across the UK – equivalent to 21 people per week.

The hard hitting initiative was commissioned By Channel 5 to raise awareness of the urgent need for more people to join the Organ Donor Register and marked the launch of the channel’s new series The Gift of Life, produced with support from NHS Blood and Transplant, which starts on Wednesday 21 October at 10pm. 

The three-part series follows the real-life journeys of patients in need of life-saving organ transplants. Filmed at the Institute of Transplantation, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, each episode focuses on patients as they wait in hope for organs to become available before their window for life saving surgery closes forever.

A camera team captured the reaction of passers-by as the ‘patients’, played by actors, were spotted in locations across the capital including  Oxford Street, Victoria and Westminster Bridge.  A team from the channel accompanied the ‘patients’ dispensing information on how to join the Organ Donor Register.  

There are currently around 7,000 people on the UK transplant waiting list.  Three people on average die each day in need of an organ transplant – equivalent to 21 people per week and over 1,000 per year.  Brits are urged to consider registering as an organ donor, letting family and friends know of their decision so that more of these lives can be saved.

With exclusive access to the Institute of Transplantation, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne over the course of six months, along with the patients and their families, Gift of Life offers an intimate insight into one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching experiences most people will be fortunate enough never to have to experience.

Guy Davies, Commissioning Editor, Factual at Channel 5 said: “The Gift of Life is a beautifully produced and inspiring insight into the stories of patients and their families who face organ transplantation, often as their final chance.  We hope this series encourages more people to join the Organ Donor Register and our activity today is part of our wider campaign designed to raise awareness.”

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said; "Programmes like this show that transplants really do save lives, but they wouldn't be possible without people donating their organs after death. With three people dying every day in the UK in need of a transplant, more needs to be done to increase the number of organs available. Tell those closest to you that you want to be a donor so that when the time comes it will make the decision that much easier for your family and more lives will be saved."

For more information on The Gift of Life, visit www.channel5.com/giftoflife.  If you are a donor, tell your friends and loved ones on social media by uploading your hand on heart selfie using #GiftOfLife or go to the Channel 5 Facebook to add our heart to your profile picture to show you’ll give The Gift of Life.

 

Around 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant, so it's vital that people sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR) and tell their families about their decision. To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit  www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

 


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