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Organ donations on the rise in the East

PUBLISHED: 07:30 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:40 01 August 2010

One man whose life was transformed after a kidney transplant is 46-year-old Mark Chamberlin, who is approaching the fifth anniversary of his operation.

One man whose life was transformed after a kidney transplant is 46-year-old Mark Chamberlin, who is approaching the fifth anniversary of his operation.

Dan Grimmer

The number of people in the region who have agreed to donate their organs after death has increased over the past year, new figures have revealed.

More people are offering to donate their organs to help others, but still at a slower rate than the number of patients who need them.

Dan Grimmer

The number of people in the region who have agreed to donate their organs after death has increased over the past year, new figures have revealed.

More people are offering to donate their organs to help others, but still at a slower rate than the number of patients who need them.

There are 543 people on the waiting list for an organ in East Anglia and last year 24 people died while waiting for a transplant.

The overall membership of the NHS Organ Donor Register in East Anglia at the end of March 2009 was 28pc of the population, which is up 2pc from last year and above the national average of 27pc.

Marie Garside, a transplant co-ordinator based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, has been in post since March this year and helps relatives make informed decisions about organ donation.

She said: "My role is to identify potential donors and to talk to the relatives, giving them all the information they need to make their own decisions.

"I do have a lot of contact with relatives before and after donation, and my job is a great privilege, especially when you read the thank-you letters and see that the organs which have been donated have saved lives or changed them for the better.

"The biggest myths about organ donation are that older people cannot donate organs and that religious faith is a barrier to donating organs."

In 2007/08 the N&N provided six donors, but since April 2009, 16 donations have been made.

One man whose life was transformed after a kidney transplant is 46-year-old Mark Chamberlin, who is approaching the fifth anniversary of his operation.

He was diagnosed with renal failure in 1993 and spent more than a decade on kidney dialysis four times a day.

Mr Chamberlin, from Silver Road, Norwich spent a year on the organ donor register. He said he realised how lucky he was "every single day".

He added: "The more people who sign up to the register the more likely it is that people like me will be found an organ and lives can be saved."

The government wants to see 25m people on the Organ Donor Register by 2013, and the number of donations to have increased by 50pc.

A spokesman for the NHS Blood and Transplant said: "There are no age limits to joining the register so anyone can join."

To sign up to the organ donor register call the donor line on 0300 123 23 23 or log on to www.organdonation.nhs.uk

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