Ten people in Fenland are currently waiting for organ transplants but only a third of district's residents are registered donors
With only one in three people in Fenland registered as an organ donor and news that 35 people died in five years in Cambridgeshire waiting for a transplant a local man has added his support to an appeal for more donors.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) are urging families across the county to talk about registering during Organ Donation Week. Seventy three people in Cambridgeshire had their lives saved by a transplant last year - 10 of them were in Fenland, among them was Manea man Mike Hawes.
Last November Mike underwent a heart transplant using a pioneering technique at the Royal Papworth Hospital. He knows he is one of the lucky ones and only had to wait around six weeks for his new heart.
But he is also painfully aware of how awful waiting to be told an organ has been found can be and he is convinced without his new heart he would not be here today.
New figures released by NHSBT show only around one in three people in Fenland have signed up to the organ donation register. They also show that around 10 people in the district are waiting for a new organ right now.
NHSBT says the failure of prospective donors to sign the register or inform their families of their wishes is posing an obstacle to life-saving transplants going ahead.
The organisation says this "fatal complacency" means that a family may refuse to give their consent even if their loved was happy for their organs to be used.
Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation for NHSBT, said: "It's tragic that so many people from Cambridgeshire have died waiting for a transplant - what is shocking is that many of those lives could have been saved, had more families agreed to donate organs.
"People are dying every day because some families are not talking about donation. We need more families in Cambridgeshire to say yes to organ donation, so that more lives can be saved.
"We don't want people to die because of fatal complacency that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too.
"Please, let your family know your decision and ask them if they want to be donors. Don't leave your family guessing what you would have wanted to happen."
Mike added: "The problem is people don’t always think about being on the donor register until something like what I’ve been through happens to them. It is simple to sign up, but it is also easy to put off doing it, but I would urge everyone to do it/
“I can’t thank the family of my donor enough for allowing their loved one to be a donor. I shall be forever grateful to them for their bravery without them I don’t think I would be here today.”
To register visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk
* Mike and his wife Wendy have been fundraising as a thank-you for the Royal Papworth and are planning an evening of live music with a hog roast at Manea Village Hall on December 15. Tickets will be £15 and will be available from October 1 from the Rose and Crown pub and the Beauty Box in Manea or via: 07966254507.