Register and save a life

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GIVE the gift of life this year — that’s the message from the Scottish government.

The campaign encouraging Scots to join the organ donor register continues for 2013, as more and more people join the waiting list in the hope of receiving a life-saving organ.

Every day, three people in the UK will die while waiting for a transplant. 41 per cent of Scots have already registered – but a huge 96 per cent of people polled say they would accept an organ if they needed one.

Those who have considered signing up are being reminded that seven words — I’d like to be an organ donor — can make all the difference and save up to seven lives.

Extra regular Russell MacMillan is one such recipient — and since his life-saving double transplant in 2007, the Newton Mearns man has gone on to found his own charity.

According to Russell, East Renfrewshire Good Causes — which funds and facilitates good deeds for those of the community most in need — is “all thanks to those two organs.

“Without them, I wouldn’t be here and those people wouldn’t have been helped. I like to think that every good deed is in memory of the organ donor who helped me, and her family.

“I often say to people that the impact of organ donation is that they or their loved ones live on, which to me is better than any memorial stone you can buy”.

Joining the nationwide campaign is Erin Lappin, who gave permission for her baby son to become an organ donor in 2010.

Stewart Johnston was just three and a half when he stopped breathing at home, and despite being rushed to hospital, doctors could do no more for him.

The Glasgow mum takes comfort in knowing that her son saved the lives of one adult and four children — including two babies not yet born when Stewart passed.

She explained: “Both Stewart’s dad and I were on the donor register, and both of the opinion that it’s about quality of life, not quantity of life, so when we knew Stewart wasn’t going to survive we asked doctors if organ donation was a possibility.

“We were certain that we wanted something good to come out of something so bad”.

Erin added: “We need to be more open and talk about it with our families and make that decision. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject. Don’t put it off – join the register today”.

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