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  1. ITV Report

Record number of people donating organs in the East

A record number of people in the East are becoming organ donors.

New figures from NHS Blood and Transplant show 194 people from this region who died last year gave permission for their organs to be used - helping to save more lives than ever before across the UK.

In the last decade, there's been a 218% increase in the number of people donating organs here.

By her 20s Gemma needed a transplant and she was just about to start on dialysis when she got the transplant call in 2012. Credit: Gemma Sturge

For years, Gemma Sturge from King's Lynn was in and out of hospital with kidney failure, until at 18, she was told she had one hope of survival - a transplant.

At 18, Gemma Sturge was told she need to have a kidney transplant to stay alive.

With a rare blood group, she was told she may have to wait five years for even the possibility of a transplant.

Thirteen months after Gemma joined the register, she received the life-saving phone call to tell her there was a match.

When the call came through I was a bit disorientated. It wasn't until I sat up and realised this is the call I've been waiting for.

I literally sprung out of bed, the fittest I'd probably been in a long time and I made the phone call to my husband to let him know I had the phone call I'd been waiting for.

– Gemma Sturge
194 people from the East of England became lifesaving deceased organ donors over the last year Credit: PA

There are still 441 people from the East of England on the transplant waiting list.

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We're incredibly grateful to all the families in the East of England who have chosen to say 'yes' to organ donation.

"Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to save lives through organ donation. We want more people to have that opportunity."

The NHS says they need more people aged over 50 in the East of England to support donation. Credit: PA