SEVENTY-THREE people died in our region while waiting for organ transplants in the last five years, new NHS figures show.
Families are now being urged to use their time together during the remainder of the holiday season to prevent more deaths by talking about organ donation.
In North and East Yorkshire 73 people on the organ transplant list have died in the last five years.
Fifty people have received life-saving organ donations this year but 200 more are waiting for a donor organ.
Now the NHS Blood and Transplant service is encouraging people to register as organ donations and tell their families so their loved ones will know what their decision was.
Mike Tiplady’s son Andrew died in 2011 at the age of 31 while he was waiting for a lung transplant.
Mike said: “It’s always difficult losing somebody but if a doctor then comes and asks you if they can take some organs that must be awful, but it’s a good thing.
“I have registered as an organ donor myself and I have talked to all my family and friends about it, and I think everybody should do the same.
“In October 2010, Andrew had the possibility of a lung transplant but the organ wasn’t up to standard.
“If it had been, he might have been here today.
“There are a lot of Andrews in the world, a lot of young people dying unnecessarily, and although he missed out, other people don’t have to.”
NHS figures show that only 31 percent of families would let organ donation go ahead after a relative had died if they were not sure what their loved one had wanted.
Anthony Clarkson, acting director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “For people in need of an organ, Christmas is a very difficult time so we are urging everybody to talk about organ donation.”
In 2010, The Press ran its Lifesavers campaign and encouraged more than 13,500 people in the region to join the Organ Donor Register.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or phone 0300 123 23 23.