Organ Donation Week underway - have you signed up?

Gareth Evans, 45, with his wife Danielle. Gareth has been on the donor waiting list since February 2009, longer than anyone else in the UK Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Organ Donation Week 2018 is underway. The event raises awareness of organ donation and encourages people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register.

There are 25,661,697 people on the Organ Donor Register across the UK according to the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), as of 31 August 2018. However the organisation says that each year up to 3,000 potential organ transplants are missed because families said no to donating their relatives' organs. Therefore the NHSBT is encouraging everyone to speak to their loved ones about their wishes surrounding organ donation.

There are currently 6,133 people on the transplant waiting list - including 280 people waiting for a new heart.

One of the people on the waiting list is 20-year-old Dom Davies who has been sharing his story.

Dom Davies was born with a heart defect and had his first operation at 4 days old Credit: Family photograph

The campaign to get more people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register is also backed by Gareth Evans, 45, from Stockport and his wife Danielle. Gareth had his first heart transplant at the age aged 17 due to cardiomyopathy. He has been waiting for a second transplant for nine years - since February 2009 - longer than anyone else in the UK.

Gareth's first donated heart has lasted for 28 years, but his condition has recently deteriorated and he has been moved from the general waiting list to the urgent list for a heart donation - he is now awaiting a transplant in Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester.

According to the NHS, there are stark regional variations in the number of people who are registering to become organ donors. A new interactive map has been produced to show the differences.

Find out the figures in your region by looking at the map created by mapping and analytics company Esri UK.

In some parts of the UK just 16% of people are registered to donate organs when they die, compared to as many as 70% in other regions.

According to data from May 2018, Wiltshire is among the the five regions with the highest percentages of people on the Organ Donor Register. The top five are:

The six areas where fewer than one in five people have signed up to the Organ Donor Register are:

You can also join the Organ Donor Register when you:

  • 5=. Redbridge in East London and Luton - 19.9%

You can sign up to the Organ Donor Register by:

You can also join the register when you:

If you are finding it difficult to discuss the issue with your family and friends. here are some tips from the NHSBT on how to bring up the subject of organ donation with your loved ones.