New campaign to boost Scots organ donor numbers

A 24-year-old man who had a promising football career cut short by kidney failure as a teenager is backing a new campaign to persuade more people to sign up to the Scottish organ donation register.

Callum Reid, whose life was saved by a kidney transplant, backed a campaign to help increase donor numbers in Scotland. Picture: Mark Ferguson

Callum Reid, from Grangemouth, had the world at his feet when he was on trial was with English Championship side Preston North End in 2010. However, he was forced to hang up his boots at just 17 after he received a renal failure diagnosis from doctors.

Mr Reid, who also represented Falkirk at youth level, was hospitalised for two months while he awaited dialysis, only for his illness to be compounded when he lost his mother to cancer shortly after.

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Mr Reid finally received his transplant in October 2016, more than six years after the initial diagnosis, and is now backing calls for more Scots to join the donation list.

He also supported a move towards an “opt-out” system for organ donation, meaning Scots would automatically be on the register unless they said otherwise, replacing the current “opt-in” scheme.

He said: “Overnight, I went from being a healthy guy, playing football, to having a life ruled by kidney disease.

“I openly admit before I took unwell that I’d heard about organ donation but never realised its importance.

“When you grow up living with treatment, it’s hard to get your head round a life without it. But seeing things starting to work properly after the transplant was nothing short of amazing.

“Life now is like night and day compared to before.”

He continued: “If I could give up everything I have to get someone a transplant, I’d do it.

“It’s great that Scotland is looking to employ an opt out system, but first and foremost people need to be on the register and tell their family.

“I know how incredibly lucky I’ve been and I have so much to be thankful for, thanks to my donor.”

Recent figures show more than 4,300 people in Scotland currently live with a transplant, while almost half of Scots, 45 per cent, are registered donors.

The Scottish Government recently outlined plans for a for a “soft opt-out system” of organ donation, with a view to increasing numbers. The minister for public health, Aileen Campbell said: “Every person that joins the NHS Organ Donor Register could potentially save a life and give hope to the 580 people waiting for a transplant in Scotland.

“If you support organ donation, I’d encourage you to join the Register today and tell your family.”