Organ Donor Awareness Week, organised by the Irish Kidney Association and supported by the Irish Donor Network, will take place from this Saturday, March 28, until April 4.
The annual life-saving awareness campaign aims to highlight the plight of people with organ failure and the ongoing need for organ donation, and to encourage more people to make an informed decision to carry an organ donor card.
There are currently over 600 people in Ireland awaiting life saving transplant operations. In Ireland last year, there were 136 deceased donor kidney transplants, 58 liver, four heart, and four lung transplants. Twelve pancreas transplants were carried out in conjuction with kidney transplants.
Ten extra kidney transplants were conducted via living donors, making a total of 146 kidney transplants in Ireland in 2008, the same amount as in 2006 and 2007. The number of deceased donors in 2008, 81, was down by seven on 2007.
For the third year in a row, TV and radio broadcaster Ryan Tubridy lends his support to the campaign, which was launched on Tuesday.
Throughout the week, volunteers will be selling 'forget-me-nots' (the symbol of transplantation ) brooches, magnetic car ribbons, and organ donor keyrings. Proceeds will go to the Irish Kidney Association’s support programme for patients on dialysis and those patients fortunate enough to have a kidney transplant.
The Irish Kidney Association promotes and distributes the organ donor card in Ireland on behalf of all patient groups with an interest in organ donation who form the Irish Donor Network.
Organ donor cards can be obtained (free of charge ) from the Irish Kidney Association, and are available nationwide from pharmacies, GP surgeries, and Citizen Information Offices.
Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website www.ika.ie