During Valentine's week, ITV is launching a new campaign, From the Heart, which aims to raise awareness of organ donation and the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Throughout the week, a range of ITV shows will explore and highlight the shortage of organ donors, its implications and the reasons behind it, focusing on the recipients of donor organs and how lives can be transformed, and ultimately how everyone across the country has the opportunity to make a difference. Giving a gift this Valentine Day's that could potentially transform the lives of up to nine people in the UK.
As part of From the Heart, ITV News will be following the heart transplant team at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
Papworth started in 1918 as a tuberculosis hospital but has grown in to UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the UK’s leading adult heart and lung transplantation centre. ITV News has exclusive access to the transplant team and those facing the life and death decisions that could change people's lives.
On Wednesday, Tonight will revisit the story of William Pope, a young man who told Tonight about his wait for a heart transplant last year.
There are currently around 10,000 people in the UK who need a transplant and a thousand people die waiting on the register every year. Yet only 31% of people have registered as donors - a much lower proportion than some other countries around the world. The Tonight special at 8pm on Wednesday February 13th will examine public attitudes towards organ donation and will tell a series of personal stories of those who are on the waiting list.
Then at 9pm on February 13th, ITV will bring together a host of stars for special From the Heart programme. The show will feature a range of musical and comedy treats from the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie, Pixie Lott, Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, who will come together to pledge their support for the awareness-raising campaign.
ITV has worked closely with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the special Health Authority responsible for the NHS Organ Donor Register and for matching and allocating organs across the UK, to develop the From the Heart campaign.
– Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHSBT
We are delighted that ITV have launched this campaign and hope it will encourage people to sign up and be proud to do their bit for others in agreeing to be an organ donor. One organ donor can save the lives of up to nine people. Yet, three people are dying every day waiting for an organ. Organ donation transforms and saves lives and we hope this campaign will encourage everyone to join the register and tell their loved ones about their wishes.