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photograph of Leah Macrae

 

Actress Leah MacRae has backed the drive to get people talking about organ and tissue donation, as new research shows 38 per cent of people in Scotland haven’t yet had that potentially life-saving conversation.

The comedian and singer lent her voice to the campaign after friend Lisa Hertwig received a double lung transplant in November 2016 – admitting she hadn’t had that important discussion until she knew someone who was affected.

With the law around organ and tissue donation changing to an opt-out system from Autumn 2020, Leah highlighted why she believes organ donation is a personal choice, but stressed the importance of sharing that decision with family regardless.

The research also revealed that of those who said they were willing to be an organ and tissue donor (77 per cent), almost a quarter (23 per cent) haven’t yet joined the NHS Organ Donor Register. 

The move to an opt-out system of organ and tissue donation means that if people have not recorded a decision about donation, it will be assumed they’re willing to be a donor when they die.

Families will always be involved in discussions about donation and will be asked about their loved ones views, to ensure that donation wouldn’t go ahead where it is against the donor’s wishes.

Organ donation remains a personal decision – people can choose to be a donor, or opt-out of donation – but it’s important to make that decision known.

Lisa from Alloa, who has cystic fibrosis received a double lung transplant in November 2016, after almost three and a half years of waiting.

Leah said:

“Needing a transplant is something you never think will happen to you, and then I met this amazing person and it was happening to them.

“Before I met Lisa, I was never on the organ donor register.  I didn’t know enough about it and the thought of it scared me.

“But seeing the life that you can give to someone who like Lisa, who would have died without that help, I asked myself that question.  If I found out I needed a life-saving transplant tomorrow to continue with my life, to stay with all my loved ones and live my dreams, would I take it? Then it became a no brainer for me.

“If you ask yourself that question and the answer is yes, and you haven’t registered your decision, then you need to think about why that is.

“Everyone has a choice at the end of the day, but your family knowing what that is makes it easier for them to support it.  And I hope people take the time to do that, because I’ve seen first-hand what organ donation can do.”