THE dad of a youngster whose life was transformed by a transplant is backing a national campaign to encourage more people to sign up to the organ donor register.
George Skinner, whose 11-year-old daughter Alice received a new kidney four years ago, is supporting National Transplant Week.
As well as asking more people to sign up to become donors, the campaign is urging them to “pass it on” by telling family of their wishes.
There are currently 266 people in the North-East waiting for a life-changing organ transplant.
Alice, who has gone from strength to strength since her transplant, had to endure seven years of regular blood dialysis after she was born without regular kidneys.
George, 43, of the Clavering area of Hartlepool, said: “It was really hard when Alice was on the waiting list, always waiting and hoping for that phone call.
“You try to plan in your head what you will do when it comes.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to sign up to the register.
“But even if you sign up it doesn’t always happen if you don’t tell your next of kin because they still need to say whether it goes ahead or not.”
Alice and her family spent years travelling to Ward 2 of the RVI hospital in Newcastle for thrice-weekly dialysis until a suitable donor was finally found in 2008.
Now she is looking forward to starting at St Hild’s CE Secondary School in September.
A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant service, said: “If you join the register without telling the people closest to you, your wishes may come as a surprise at a sensitive time when they are trying to deal with their loss, and this could result in them not giving permission for your organs to be donated.
“Over 90 per cent of families will agree to donation if a loved one is registered and has discussed their wishes.
“This drops to around 40 per cent if donation wishes aren’t known.”
You can join the register online by visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk or text JOIN to 84880.