As Organ Donation Week comes to a close…

It seems incredible that here I am, blogging on the last day of Organ Donation Week 2018.

Like many of you, a part of me is stunned by how quickly this incredible week has passed by, but the shattered bit of me is only too aware that we have had a busy, stimulating and ultimately very successful week in which we as a team have done so much to get the organ donation message into our communities.

I am constantly amazed by the innovation and passion of our ODT team and, just as importantly, our incredible partners across the UK. This week has seen The Kelpies and other incredible landmarks in Scotland lit up in green while in England and Wales a myriad of important buildings such as St Georges Hall in Liverpool have turned pink, all to promote the importance of organ donation in their local communities. As we all know incredible images like this do not organise themselves in a few days and I want to congratulate everyone involved in organising this amazing visual prompt to people to ‘have the conversation’

One of the most rewarding aspects of Organ Donation Week is to observe the variety of work that takes place. This week we have talked about organ donation in the corridors of power at the House of Commons, in Radio and TV studios and just as importantly in hundreds of hospital atriums, shopping centres and atop buses and trams.

When our message is #WordsSaveLives it is so appropriate that we find so many different ways of getting that across. In my week I have had the honour and the pleasure to represent ODT at a large number of media opportunities, most of those have been shared with inspirational citizens who have been sharing their very personal stories around organ donation to help us reach out and touch as many people as possible.

As a professional working in Organ Donation and a passionate believer in what we do, I feel that I have a great job undertaking media work – who would not want to represent the incredible work we all do?! But I remain in awe of the people I share radio studios and TV sofas with. To talk openly about your wait for an organ, your illness and transplant or your bereavement as a donor family member, and to do it for no personal benefit just to try and help others, is truly inspirational and their stories will stay with long after this week ends.

I have been fascinated to watch over the week as the messaging around #WordsSaveLives and the need for an Organ Donation conversation has evolved. The initial ‘tell your family you want to be a donor’ has morphed into the more uplifting ‘tell your loved ones you want to save lives’. I have found this messaging easier to use in my media interviews, after all who would not want to leave a legacy of pride, respect and lives saved for their families after they are gone?

The experience has caused me to ponder (early I know!) the messages for Organ Donation Week 2019. Perhaps a focus on the wonderful pride and consolation our donor families feel as they think of their family hero will provide a refreshing alternate view of what Organ Donation means, lots of work ahead for our colleagues in Communications as they start to plan our next adventure.

I want to take this opportunity to thank every single person in ODT, Comms, Marketing and our wider team, internal and external to NHSBT for making this week such an incredible success.

Our passion for what we do and the skills and dedication of all involved mean that we achieve so much in this special week. I have lost count of the wonderful initiatives I have seen, the TV and Radio stations who have lined up to highlight our campaign and the incredible stories that have been shared.

Home at last with my youngest daughter, Charlotte.

We have been a truly positive force on social media and a special shout out to the 5 ODT bloggers who each took over the @NHS Twitter account for a day to share their special ODT story. Let us all look back at this week with justifiable pride, and after a brief rest start thinking about how we can make it bigger and better in 2019. While 3 people still die every day waiting for an organ transplant I know I can rely on you all to look forward with a shared determination to keep saving and improving lives in this incredible Directorate in which we work.


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