THE Scottish finalist in BBC’s Great British Bake Off show has backed a national campaign to urge more Scots to sign up for organ donation.
James Morton, a student doctor who proved a hit on the TV cookery show, urged people to become donors as he met a woman whose life was saved by a liver transplant 20 years ago.
The majority of people on the transplant list in Scotland are waiting on kidney transplants – 514 people are currently waiting for a kidney across the country.
Mr Morton, 21, and Hannah MacKereth met in a Glasgow tearoom to promote the “Wee Chat” campaign for the NHS Organ Donor Register in Scotland.
The keen baker said: “”I just think that it’s such an easy thing to do, organ donation. You can sign up very, very quickly and save a huge number of lives by doing it,” Morton said.
“It makes absolutely perfect sense. I think it’s a great system and everyone should do their bit to support it. “It’s a very natural thing not to want to think about your own death.
The third-year student doctor said he hadlearned a great deal about the transplant process during his studies.
He said: “Whenever we get lectures on transplantation they are some of the most inspiring because you see the true difference it can make.
Ms MacKereth, of Glasgow, underwent a liver transplant at the age of just seven months and is now preparing to mark 20 years since the operation.
She said: “There was no other option: I had to have the transplant or I would have died.
“So, it was either ‘make her comfortable and don’t put her on the waiting list’ or ‘put her on the waiting list and hope that she gets a donor’.
“It’s just seven little words: ‘I’d like to be an organ donor’.
More than 600 people in Scotland are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant due to a deficit of donors.
Although Scotland has the highest rates of registered donors in the UK at 41 per cent of the population, research by NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed 96 per cent of people would take an organ if they needed it.
Organs which can be transplanted include kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and small bowel.
Tissues such as eyes, heart valves, bone, skin and connective tissue can also be used.
Professor John Forsythe, Scotland’s lead clinician for organ donation and transplantation, said: “Due to the generosity of the Scottish people, organ donor numbers are increasing and allowing more life-saving transplants.
“But there is much still to do as people wait on lists for their chance to get a transplant.
“Please think about what you would want to happen to you, add your name to the register and have a wee chat to your family too.”
More information about the NHS Organ Donor Register can be found online at www.organdonationscotland.org