Firefighters support organ donation campaign

Yorkshire’s emergency services have come together in a bold and brave body art installation, celebrating the incredible human body, in aid of Organ Donation Week next week (3 – 9th September).

In support of Yorkshire’s organ donation campaign, Be A Hero, representatives from The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service joined forces with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) to shine the spotlight on the human organs and the ability of the human body to save the lives of others.

The representatives bared torsos in a live body painting installation at Leeds General Infirmary, featuring and highlighting five of the body’s important organs; the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas.

The Be A Hero campaign, which was launched by LTHT in Yorkshire in 2015, hopes to raise awareness of organ donation and inspire Yorkshire residents to consider their organ donation wishes, in the aim of increasing the number of registered organ donors in the region and providing lifesaving transplants to the nearly 500 people on the transplant waiting list in Yorkshire.

Dr Catherine Penrose, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at LTHT, explains; “Organ donation and giving the gift of life so it may save the lives of others is an inspiring act and we wanted to come together to create a powerful visual that illustrates just how incredible the human body is. By highlighting five different organs, we hope to raise awareness that one person has the ability to save up to nine lives through organ donation.

“Ahead of Organ Donation Week, our body art installation intends to thank and celebrate the hundreds of families in Yorkshire who signed the donor register or consented to organ donation on behalf of a loved one last year. Thanks to the altruism of donors across the region, 318 people received a life changing transplant in our region alone in 2017/18.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Dave Walton, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said; “We are pleased to join our fellow emergency services to come together to put the important subject of organ donation on the agenda. We’ve supported the Be A Hero campaign since its launch in 2015 and hope that the impactful and visually eye-catching body art installation will shine the spotlight on the human body and inspire even more Yorkshire residents to sign the organ donor register and speak to their loved ones about their wishes.

“Firefighters get to do lifesaving work every day but members of the public can also make the decision to give the gift of life to others once they have gone. We hope this will encourage people to simply open up the conversation and become better informed about organ donation.”

Dr Steven Dykes, Deputy Medical Director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, added: “We already work closely with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, so it makes perfect sense to join forces with them for this very important campaign. We care for so many people whose life could be improved by receiving a vital organ, and we really hope that the campaign encourages more people to give the gift of life to others across Yorkshire.”

In 2017/18, 318 people received a life changing solid organ transplant in Yorkshire, however 34 people sadly died on the transplant waiting list during this time and 483 people remained on the transplant waiting list.

Volunteers who modelled the body paintings included Lorna Dodd and Alan Hoare from West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service, Simone Mulcahy from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Laura Riddick from The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

To find out more about organ donation, please visit www.leedsth.nhs.uk/be-a-hero. You can also sign up to the donor register by calling 0300 123 23 23.