Wakefield Goes Pink for Organ Donation Week
16 September 2021
Revd Ben Rhodes
Head of Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care | Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Next week from Monday 20 - Sunday 26 September 2021, key buildings in Wakefield will go pink along with others across the UK, as organ donation week takes place. Locally Pinderfields Hospital and the Town Hall will be illuminated pink by night and proudly fly their organ donation flags by day.
Every day in the UK 3 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant die. Only 1% of people who die in the UK each year do so in circumstances that would enable them to be an organ donor. The data shows you are more likely to need a transplant than to be in the position to be a donor. Sadly, organ donation often doesn’t happen because family members don’t know the wishes of their relative. I want to ask you to consider whether, if you were in the position to donate your organs after every effort has been made to save your life, would you wish to donate or not? You may have heard of the #Leavethemcertain message to encourage everyone to make their donation decision. We are encouraged not only to record our decision on the donor register, but importantly to tell the people around us our wishes so they can honour them and then get on with living.
Many people generously give blood. Others become “living” donors usually by donating a kidney or part of their liver. When someone has died or is about to die, their family will be approached to ask their thoughts on donation Part of the preparation to support families is checking the donor register. So, joining the register ensures your wishes around donation (yes or no) are known, and if you would like your faith to be part of the conversations and care. If donation is agreed someone’s humanity and dignity, paramount throughout their care, continues after death. I see this time after time in my role as an NHS healthcare chaplain from the many teams that support an individual and those important to them through donation and beyond.
Why is it important for us to consider organ donation as Christians? Fundamentally we are a faith that believes in resurrection not resuscitation. The New Testament writing’s talk of the life after death as being one of transformation; of our resurrection “body” not being the same as our physical body. When we are dead, we have no need of our body, we are in a unique position to help our neighbour. To be an organ donor is the ultimate gift of love. The Church of England has consistently supported organ donation for many years as an act of loving service when our lives are at their end. This organ donation week I simply invite you to talk to those who matter to you about your organ donation wishes.
If you want to find out more https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/get-involved/ has a wealth of resources – including a message from Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and a factsheet on Christianity and organ donation. These pages also allow you to register or amend your donation decision – but don’t forget to tell someone your wishes too!