Organ donation is something we all need to talk about. After the death of a family member, you don't want to find yourself unsure about whether they wanted to donate.

Make time

Make time

This week, NHS Blood and Transplant are launching a campaign which calls for people to help 'Turn an End. Into a Beginning' by starting conversations about organ donation.

From 'Land's Beginning' to 'Preston North Beginning' and 'Southbeginning-on-Sea', famous 'Ends' are turning into 'Beginnings' to mark the start of Organ Donation Week, which runs 5th - 11th September.

Only 47 per cent agree to organ donation if they are unaware of their loved one's decision to be a donor. Yet almost 90 per cent give their consent when the decision to be an organ donor is known.

With only 1 per cent of people dying in the right circumstances to become an organ donor and so many adults and children in need of a transplant, it is vital that no opportunity for someone to become a donor is missed.

Every day across the UK, around three people who could have benefited from a transplant die because there aren't enough organ donors. And currently around 6,500 people are on the waiting list for a transplant.

By using these tips, you could start a conversation with your family today about organ donation and turn an end into a beginning.

Make time

36 per cent of us say that we have never made time to discuss organ donation. Taking five minutes while you make a cup of tea or go for a stroll together can make a huge difference. There's no better time to talk about donating than Organ Donation Week.

Keep the conversation positive

There's lots of benefits of becoming an organ donor. Why not read through some of these examples together about how a donated organ can create a new beginning for someone else and transform their lives.

Ask them whether they would say yes on your behalf

Make the conversation flow two ways so you can both express whether you would like to donate. Encourage them to talk openly about the subject and what they would like to do.

How would they feel about receiving an organ?

It's hard to understand what someone would be going through when they are on a waiting list for an organ. Talk about how you would feel about receiving an organ, this is a good platform for starting the conversation about donation.

Share your feelings on social media

Not sure how to start the conversation face to face? You could tag your loved one in a post about organ donation on social media. Share the #YesIDonate on Instagram or Facebook, or tag them in an NHS Organ Donation social media post to get the conversation started and raise awareness of your decision to donate.

Talk about stories you have seen in the news

The media frequently share the stories of people who have benefitted from organ donation or families who have made the decision to donate a relative's organs. This is a great way to spark a conversation.

Remember that organ donation is not all about death.

21 per cent of us say we have never had a conversation about organ donation because we don't want to talk about death. It's useful to point out the new life organ donation can give. Many donor families say that donation helps with their grief and they feel enormous pride, knowing that their relative went on to save lives after they died.

Talk about past experiences.

Do you know anyone that has donated or received a transplant? Speak with your family about these experiences and encourage them to talk about what they would do in these circumstances.

Respect each other's decision and talk about where you differ

Be aware that certain family members might feel differently to you. Try to supportive and understanding of their feelings or beliefs. They might not have given organ donation much thought before. Even if someone isn't comfortable with the thought of donating, at least you have had the conversation.

Don't leave it too late

17 per cent say that we haven't got round to having a conversation about organ donation. Many people believe that all you need to do to show you want to be a donor is to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. However, if you die in circumstances where you could become an organ donor your family would be approached by specialist nurses and asked to support your decision to donate. It's more important than ever to have this conversation with your family now.

Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director for Organ Donation and Nursing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "Too many families faced with the possibility of donating a relative's organs, find themselves having to make a decision without the comfort of knowing exactly what their relative would have wanted. This makes what is already an emotional and difficult time even harder. It is vital you tell your family about your organ donation decision: that knowledge will make it so much easier for them to support what you want.

Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23. Share your decision with your friends, using hashtag #YesIDonate


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