Would you give a kidney, rather than your heart, this Valentine’s Day?
A new campaign launched today by NHS Blood and Transplant and partner charities including Give a Kidney calls on people across the UK, to consider transforming lives by donating a kidney to someone they love, a friend or relative or even a stranger.
Less than half (48%) of adults surveyed recently by NHS Blood and Transplant were aware of living kidney donation. However, when they were subsequently asked whether they would consider becoming a kidney donor, the majority (61%) said they would.
Of those who would consider donating, almost half (49%) would consider donating to a family member while 1 in 5 (22%) said they would consider donating to a friend and 1 in 7 (14%) to a stranger.
As part of the campaign, comedian Alex Smith and composer Philip Pope, have created a tongue-in-cheek song, called ‘Kidney-shaped Love’. The light-hearted music video set in a working men’s club plays on Valentine’s verse but carries an underlying serious message, to encourage people to find out more about transforming a life through living donation:
Here we go again buying gifts
For partners, lovers, friends with benefits
A cheesy photo in a heart-shaped frame
Pink furry handcuffs engraved with their name
Red roses, teddy bears they’re all so cliché
I’ve got a better gift to give this Valentine’s Day
My feelings can no longer be denied
Here is something from deep inside
I’d give you my heart
But I’d have to be dead
And I’m still very much alive
So please have my kidney instead…
Currently, almost 5,000 people are waiting for a kidney in the UK. This is more than the total number of people waiting for any other organ combined.
While the majority of kidney transplant patients receive an organ from a deceased donor, living kidney donors make possible one third of all kidney transplants carried out across the UK. Currently there is a shortage of donors, which means many people do not get the life-transforming transplant they need.
Lisa Burnapp, Lead Nurse for Living Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant said:
“Across the UK, more than 250 patients died last year waiting for a kidney transplant, due to a shortage of people willing to donate after their death or during their lifetime. However, living donation is highly successful, and thousands of people have had their lives transformed thanks to people being willing to give a kidney whilst they are alive to a family member, friend or complete stranger. We hope our campaign will prompt people to go to our website to find out more about donating a kidney and that some will go on to express their interest and start the assessment process.”