What do donated organs and knitting have in common?
At hospitals around the area the answer is a rhinoceros and a few penguins: sculptures that have been decorated to mark Organ Donation Week.
The event, which runs until Sunday, is encouraging people to ‘start a conversation’ with friends and family to ‘turn an end into a beginning’.
Conversations have already begun along the corridors of Worthing and St Richard’s Hospitals after patients, staff and visitors spotted the penguins at Worthing displaying a variety of knitted organs and Brutus, the friendly rhino at St Richard’s in Chichester, who has a flock of knitted birds on his back and organs attached to his body.
Angela Fisher, Chair of the Trust’s Organ Donation Committee, said: “The serious side to these colourful and amusing additions to the hospitals’ familiar animals is to raise awareness of Organ Donation Week and to spark conversations with loved ones about organ donation.”
On average three people die every day in need of a transplant, due to the shortage of people willing to donate. There are more than 6,500 people currently on the transplant waiting list.
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.
“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 – giving others the chance of a new beginning.
“So please talk to your relatives and tell them that you want to donate should you be in a position to do so, and that you want them to support your decision to save lives after your death. Start a conversation today and help turn an end into a beginning. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and make sure you tell your friends and family your decision.”
Visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
To read a story about a West Sussex man’s quest for a kidney transplant, click here.
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