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BOY URGES SCOTS TO JOIN THE NHS ORGAN DONOR REGISTER ON TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF TRANSPLANT

A ten year old celebrating the ten year anniversary of his liver transplant kick started National Transplant Week today by calling on people across Scotland to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Evan Goodbrand, from Bishopbriggs, was just nine months when he received his transplant in September 2005 after being diagnosed with the life-threatening condition biliary atresia at just eight weeks old.  

Evan, who is now living a healthy and happy life, joined his mum Karen and dad Paul to show how he’s living proof of the difference organ donation can make as the national awareness week gets underway.

People who support organ donation are being urged to take action this week and make a difference by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register.  

Organ Donation Scotland is aiming to attract 2,015 new registrations throughout the seven days – the equivalent of approximately one Scot joining every five minutes, which is the time it takes to register.

Less than one per cent of deaths in Scotland occur in circumstances where the person is able to donate their organs, so the more people that register, the more likely someone will be able to get the life-changing transplant they are desperately waiting for.

Every registration and every family conversation about organ donation wishes could potentially save a life and give hope to the 560 people in Scotland who are currently waiting.

To inspire Scots to act, promotional teams will be speaking with shoppers at Asda in locations across the country, and at Hampden Stadium during this evening’s Scotland European Qualifier, an advert at half-time will encourage fans to register. 

Seven people whose lives have been touched by organ donation will also be sharing their stories throughout the week in a bid to motivate people to join.

Karen Goodbrand, Evan’s mum, said:

“Evan was born in November 2004 and diagnosed with biliary atresia at eight weeks old.  Surgery to correct it wasn’t successful so he was listed for transplant at just eight months.  He was a really unhappy little boy.  You could see how much discomfort he was in.  He was really jaundiced, wasn’t able to put on any weight and was constantly itchy. 

“Around a month after being listed, we got the call to say a potentially suitable liver had become available.  Within an hour we were in an ambulance travelling down to the hospital in Leeds where Evan’s transplant went ahead.   Following his surgery, we weren’t sure if he would make it through, but after two weeks, he turned a corner and he got progressively better.  He’s never looked back since.

“If you look at Evan now, compared to when he was a few months old, you wouldn’t believe it was the same boy.  He’s living proof of the amazing impact organ donation can have on someone’s life. He’s so full of energy and is always running about and playing.  He’s on a low dosage of medication and has to get check-ups every 12 weeks, but apart from that, he’s just like any other wee boy his age. 

“Evan’s transplant was the most wonderful gift we could ever receive.  It didn’t just change his life – it changed the lives of everyone in our family.  We’re all so grateful to the donor for giving Evan this second chance at life.  I can’t even put into words what it’s meant for us all.

“If you support organ donation but haven’t got round to joining the NHS Organ Donor Register yet, I can’t encourage you to do so enough.  It only takes a few minutes but can make such a difference to a family like ours.”

In Scotland, 41 per cent of people are on the NHS Organ Donor Register, compared to 33 per cent nationally. 

However, new research commissioned by NHS Blood and Transplant2 shows that 86 per cent of Scots would accept an organ donation if they were in need of a transplant, highlighting the disparity in people willing to accept an organ and those actually taking action by signing up to register.      

Professor John Forsythe, Lead Clinician for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Scotland said:

“Every time a family doesn’t know their loved one’s wishes, a truly precious opportunity could be wasted.  Although transplant rates in Scotland have increased, there are still not enough organs to meet the current need.

“A family member is twice as likely to agree to donation if they know it’s what the person would have wanted.  That’s why each registration to the NHS Organ Donor Register and every family conversation really counts.

“Evan’s story is testament to why organ donation and transplantation is so important.  If you support organ donation, make this the week you express it.”

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonationscotland.org