A life-saving conversation

Russell Macmillan. Picture by Chris James.
Russell Macmillan. Picture by Chris James.

A WEE chat could save up to seven Scottish lives — so if you want to be an organ donor, don’t keep it to yourself.

The Scottish government is campaigning for more to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Scotland may have the highest percentage of people on the list — in fact, deceased donation rates have increased by over 74 per cent since 2008, compared to a UK-wide increase of 50%.

However, there are still 600 people in Scotland on the list — and every day, three people die in the UK while waiting on a transplant.

The campaign message is that by saying seven little words — ‘I’d like to be an organ donor’ — to your loved ones, you could be saving up to seven people’s lives.

Newton Mearns man Russell Macmillan has regularly appeared in The Extra since founding the odd-jobs charity East Renfrewshire Good Causes — but he assures readers that none of it would have been possible without a life-saving double transplant in 2007.

Russell (49) received kidney and pancreas transplants after living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years — just a year after being put on the transplant list.

He told The Extra: “As soon as I got the call, my wife and I drove straight to Edinburgh. Waiting to find out if the organs were suitable was agonising. To our relief, the organs were a good match and the operation went ahead that evening.

“I’m so grateful to my donor. I’m acutely aware that my fortune is entirely down to another family’s misfortune. I was given a second chance at life thanks to the generosity of a total stranger.

“By telling my story I hope to encourage others to get talking about organ donation. It’s so important to discuss the matter with a loved one and to make your feelings known.”

To find out more about registering, or bringing the subject up with your family, visit www.organdonationscotland.org.