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147,000 join Organ Donor Register after ITV campaign

During ITV's From The Heart week to raise awareness for organ donation, record numbers of people applied to join the NHS Organ Donation Register.

On Feb 13th, when an ITV special programme on organ donation was broadcast, a record 48,000 applied online to join the register, with nearly 147,000 throughout the week.

An NHS organ donor card Credit: Clive Gee/PA Wire

Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said:

"We could not have foreseen the unprecedented numbers of people who responded to the call to join the Organ Donor Register.

"So to each and every person who is now on the Register and crucially, has told their family, thank you."

Keeping transplant patients alive until a donor can be found

Every day in the UK three people die waiting for an organ transplant.

Each day this week on ITV News in our series From the Heart we have been highlighting how many lives could be saved if the desperate shortage of organ donors across Britain was ended.

ITV News Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty is at Papworth Hospital and has been speaking to transplant surgeons about a device which helps keep transplant patients alive until they receive a donor organ:

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'From The Heart' focus on medical technology

In the latest in ITV News' series of reports, From The Heart focuses on the extraordinary medical technology that keeps patients alive - while they wait for the heart transplant they so desperately need.

As ITV News' medical editor Lawrence McGinty reports from Papworth Hospital, the shortage of donors means that it is sometimes a long wait:

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Alexandra Burke tells of mother's wait for kidney donor

As part of the ITV1 special 'From the Heart' X Factor winner Alexandra Burke described how her family kept her mother's illness from her during the 2008 final of the X Factor.

Alexandra's mother Melissa needs a kidney transplant, and spends 8 hours a day on a dialysis machine, as she waits for one.

The severe shortage of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic organ donors mean that donors from these communities have to wait three times longer to get the transplant they need.

NHS organ donor website 'overwhelmed'

The NHS website where people can register to be organ donors is experiencing difficulties due to an "overwhelming demand" from people watching the ITV 'From the Heart' Tonight special.

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