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Donations for 'ultimate gift' of life increase.

Byline: THOMAS DEACON Reporter thomas.deacon@walesonline.co.uk

THE number of lives being saved or improved by organ transplants has risen by 24% since the introduction of Wales' unique opt-out registration.

The number of living donors in Wales rose by 20% to 49 over the last financial year, and there was a 7% increase in deceased donors in the same period.

The introduction of the opt-out registration began on December 1, 2015.

Jason Leigh from Bridgend was one person whose decision helped to save others' lives.

In September last year Laura, his wife of five months, died after a cardiac arrest and her organs were donated.

Jason said: "We all deserve a second chance at life. We would all accept a second chance, so we should all be prepared to give a second chance.

"By donating Laura's organs, someone else might now get the chance to walk their daughter down the aisle, or see their children grow into adults.

"For me, donating Laura's organs when she died was a no brainer.

"It was what she wanted, to be able to give someone the opportunity to live when there was no other hope. The ultimate gift."

The figures showed that at the end of March 192 people were waiting for a transplant and 24 people died while on the waiting list.

Wales was the first part of the UK to introduce a "deemed consent" organ donation system, meaning people have to opt-out instead of opt-in.

Cardiff woman Catrin Williams-Jones, 44, also vouched for the new system after she received two kidney transplants before her 30th birthday.

Catrin said: "Organ donation gives life to so many people."

The latest figures by the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity report come just before Organ Donation Week which runs from September 5. Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, Vaughan Gething said: "Much of the data in today's report is positive for Wales, showing things are moving in the right direction; but there's still work to do.

"I want to encourage everyone across Wales to talk with their loved ones about their organ donation wishes."

During the period, 136 people living in Wales had their sight restored with a cornea transplant, increasing by 5%.

CEO of Kidney Wales Foundation, Roy J Thomas said: "Twenty-four patients died while on the active waiting list for their transplant this year. For us it is 24 human beings too many.

"It is pure madness that other parts of the United Kingdom have not adopted the new law on deemed consent.

"Wales has always led the way on organ donation. Patients tell us that waiting for a transplant is really like being on death row. It is critical that human beings are treated early as the psychological torture of waiting is so cruel."

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Jason Leigh donated his wife Laura's organs after she died following a cardiac arrest PATRICK OLNER

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2016
Words:482
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