The scandal of thousands of patients dying needlessly while waiting for an organ transplant could be brought to an end by MPs in a vital poll next week.
And today we urge you to contact your local representative to ask them to vote through an opt-out law that makes every citizen a potential donor unless otherwise stated.
Our plea comes as shock figures revealed 4,712 people have died in the past decade while waiting for an organ.
They include four-year-old daughter Aoife O’Sullivan, who lost her fight for life in March 2016 after suffering from a rare heart condition that could only be cured with a transplant.
Her mum Michelle said: “I would say to people, ‘Put yourself in the shoes of someone waiting for a transplant’ and encourage your MP to vote next week.
“It would be better if England had an opt-out system because it would increase the pool of organs available.”
Theresa May has already pledged to change the donor laws after a personal appeal by heart transplant boy Max Johnson, nine, of Winsford, Cheshire, whose life was saved last year.
The PM has said if the move is successful, it will be called Max’s Law.
And it follows the Mirror’s Change The Law For Life campaign that has for the past two years urged the Government to take action.
The opt-out vote goes before the Commons in a private members’ bill, brought by Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson, on Friday February 23. Wales already has the law.
Separate figures show 6,271 patients in the UK – including 155 children – are on the organ waiting list.
Mr Robinson said: “Saving lives is at the heart of my bill. Getting the bill passed next week will help ensure the law is changed by the end of this year.
“Otherwise it could be many years before MPs get another chance to change the law. So time is of the essence.”
The bill has won support from across the political spectrum.
Green Party joint leader Caroline Lucas said: “This change will transform and save lives. I am proud to support the Mirror’s campaign, and promote for a bill which will immediately have a positive impact on the lives of so many.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will also support the bill.
He said: “The gift of life is the most precious thing we can give.
“Every year hundreds of people miss out on life-saving treatment because families don’t know their loved ones’ wishes. I have been incredibly moved by the Mirror’s campaign to change the organ donation law. It has already been changed in Wales and the next Labour government will do the same for England. But we need change now.
“So next Friday I urge all MPs to come together and back Geoffrey Robinson’s bill so we can give that gift of life sooner rather than later.”
Kidney Care UK policy director Fiona Loud added: “We need to find ways to reduce the numbers of people needlessly dying whilst waiting for a transplant so we are calling on to MPs attend the bill reading, and show their support for saving lives.”
There had been fears change of law would bring in a “hard” opt-out system where once a person had died they would be considered donors regardless of the wishes of relatives.
But those pushing and supporting the bill dismissed the claims and insisted they were only seeking a “soft” option, as in Wales and Spain, where families will still be given the option to block donations after death.
The figures regarding waiting lists, obtained by the Mirror from NHS Blood and Transport, show the worst affected area was Greater London, where 803 people died due to a lack of organ availability in the decade up until last year.
That was followed by 386 deaths in just 10 years in Greater Manchester, and 302 in the West Midlands.
MPs should heed Mirror campaign
By SIR VINCE CABLE, Lib Dem leader
There are around 6,271 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant.
This is a great campaign. I urge all MPs to pay attention to it, and to listen to the calls of countless families across the country.
We can ensure that more lives and more children like little Max Johnson are saved.
I’m proud to be a registered organ donor and carry my card everywhere. It was an obvious choice.
But it should be assumed that everyone wants to donate their organs, unless they choose to opt out.
This bill benefits all in our society
By SIR OLIVER LETWIN, Conservative MP
This private members’ bill follows a pattern that has been established in recent years.
Of maintaining freedom of action for the individual while providing a “nudge” in favour of actions that benefit society as a whole.
I believe that this is a wholly appropriate attitude for the state to take when it comes to organ donations that can save lives.
I hope that all Conservative MPs will follow the Prime Minister’s lead in supporting the bill.
Boy called Max is our inspiration
By DAN JARVIS, Labour MP
I understand that some people have concerns regarding the opt-out system, and it is vital that nobody feels they are being forced into organ donation.
But in my opinion, changing to an opt-out scheme is the right thing to do. Knowing the story of Max Johnson will help you understand why.
For seven months, nine-year-old Max was kept alive by a tiny metal pump in his chest.
Last August, he received a new heart and is on his way to making a full recovery.
Without this transplant, Max would have joined hundreds who die each year waiting.
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