Charity man speaks out for transplants

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A COMMUNITY activist has issued a plea to his southside neighbours to sign the organ donor register for National Transplant Week.

The annual transplant week, which began on Monday, is aimed at increasing awareness of organ donation and encouraging more people to sign up.

It’s a subject that Newton Mearns man Russell Macmillan knows all too well, as he received a life-saving kidney and pancreas transplant five years ago – an event which spurred him on to found East Renfrewshire Good Causes (ERGC).

Russell (47) told The Extra: “ER Good Causes was set up to say thanks to God and honour the memory of the organ donor — without her gift of life, it wouldn’t exist, and I wouldn’t be alive today”.

The charity, which funds and facilitates life changes — big or small — for those in need, has helped 699 of Russell’s neighbours so far and reached a fundraising target of £100,000 in January this year.

In recent months, good deeds include – to name a few – installing a garden swing for an 18-year-old with Down’s Syndrome, organising free tickets for elderly and disabled residents and carers to attend the Eastwood Rotary variety concert, and providing CCTV systems for an elderly lady worried about anti-social behaviour.

The group has received support from local businesses since it began in 2007, and has been a regular fixture in The Extra for its work.

Russell and his team were also recognised on ITV programme Holding Out For a Hero last year — landing ERGC a £121,000 grant.

For the man behind the good causes, it’s important that the transplant system is recognised as the source of his charity work.

Russell continued: “I plead with everyone in the community to sign on to the organ donor register – please don’t let the potential gift of life for another be wasted. As I’ve found, there’s no greater way to love your neighbour.

“There will be children, mums, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives dying today while waiting on an organ so please make it your good deed of the day”.

To find out more about joining the register, visit the Transplant Week website. For more on Russell’s work, visit ER Good Causes.