Organ donation: don’t keep it to yourself

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THE seven words ‘I’d like to be an organ donor’ could save the lives of up to seven people.

That’s the message from the latest Scottish government campaign, encouraging more of us to sign up to the organ donor register.

According to statistics, three people die every day in the UK while waiting for a transplant.

A staggering 96 per cent of people polled say they would accept an organ if they needed one – yet only 40 per cent of the Scottish public have joined the register.

There are 600 people currently in line for an organ, and the government campaign aims to increase the number who will get a second chance at life.

One lucky recipient is Newton Mearns man Russell Macmillan – a philanthropist who started his own charity after a double transplant in 2007.

The southsider received a life-saving kidney and pancreas donation, and decided to “give back” to the world by founding East Renfrewshire Good Causes, a catch-all charity which helps neighbours in need.

East Ren Good Causes is now a regular feature in The Extra, and since it began it has helped 781 people, raising £250,000 in the process.

Russell told The Extra: “It’s all thanks to those two organs. Without them, I wouldn’t be here and those people wouldn’t have been helped – so really, those organs have helped hundreds of people.

“It’s impossible to even begin to thank someone for saving your life. But I like to think that every good deed is in memory of the organ donor who helped me, and her family.

“I know that no one likes to think of their own mortality, but for that reason, I would do anything to encourage people to register as an organ donor”.

It’s a message echoed by John Forsythe, Scotland’s lead clinician for organ donation and transplantion.

He commented: “Those who have elected to join the NHS organ donation register – or who have spoken with their families about organ donation at the time of death – make a most generous decision which allows others to live.

“Please think about what you would want to happen to you, add your name to the register and have a wee chat to your family too”.

To find out more or to join the register, visit or text LIFE to 61611.

To find out more about Russell Macmillan’s work, visit