Frontline NHS staff cycle 100 miles for organ donation week

Organ donation - join the journey
Frontline NHS staff cycle 100 miles for organ donation week
07 September 2020

NHS staff who have worked on the frontline during the pandemic will be cycling 100 miles from Salford to Birmingham to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

The route the cyclists will take will symbolise the journey donated organs take when they leave a donor and are taken to a patient waiting for a life-saving transplant.

The doctors and nurses will leave Salford Royal on Tuesday 8 September, travel to Stepping Hill Hospital where they will be joined by more colleagues before heading to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham around seven hours later.

The Join the Journey event was held for the first time last year when consultants, doctors, nurses, transplant patients and people on the transplant waiting lists got on their bikes and took symbolic organs to each of the region’s transplant centres at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe and St James in Leeds.

This year, due to the current pandemic restrictions, the event has been scaled back and nine cyclists will mark the annual awareness week.

Dr Chris Booth, Consultant in Intensive Care, Medicine and Anaesthesia at Salford Royal, said: “We may have had to scale down this year’s event by having fewer cyclists but following the pandemic, we are seeing an increasing number of people on the transplant waiting list making it is more important than ever that we raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

“It is vital that we all let our loved ones know of our decision when it comes to organ donation to ensure that our wishes can be fulfilled after we have died.

“There are so many people waiting for life-saving transplants. If you were unfortunate enough to be in that position, would you accept a donated organ that could give you your life back? If the answer is yes, then please register your decision to be an organ donor today – you could save someone’s life.”

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, specialist nurses for organ donation at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (which brings together Salford Royal, the Royal Oldham, Fairfield General and Rochdale Infirmary) worked on the frontline within critical care units caring for critically ill patients, supporting bereaved families and also within the blood and plasma services.

Between February and May 2020, four patients at Salford Royal became organ donors resulting in 13 life-saving organ transplants.

Raynie Thomson, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation, based at Salford Royal, said: “The law around organ donation has changed but the decision to be an organ donor is still yours to make and people need to register that decision on the organ donor register by either opting in or opting out.

“A family will always be asked to support someone’s decision about organ donation so please have that conversation with your loved ones today because at a time of unimaginable grief and emotion, it really will provide them with comfort to know that they have fulfilled your wishes.”

Raynie added: “Our cyclists have all been on the frontline during an incredibly difficult time in the NHS and while the journey to Birmingham is a bit of fun, we would be thrilled if we could achieve a new sign up for every mile they travel – that’s 100 people.”

You can follow the team on social media with regular updates @SalfordRoyalNHS, @NCAlliance_NHS and @donationsalford.

Please register your decisions today via https://bit.ly/2QR7F4A and let us know on Twitter using the hashtags #jointhejourney and #organdonation.

For more information on Organ Donation click here.