A DOUBLE lung transplant patient has described people on the organ donor list as “life savers”.

With Assembly Health Minister Edwina Hart highlighting the importance of signing up to the register as part of National Transplant Week, Ken Mackie, of Mayfield
Drive, Buckley has spoken of his own experience.

The 39-year-old father-of-one who had his transplant in 2008 after suffering from cystic fibrosis since the age of 21 said he “treasures every moment” since his operation.

He said: “You are desperate for the organ. You know that there is no medicine that is going to save you, you know the one thing that is going to save you is a transplant.

“It is important to know what a transplant can do for someone. Everyone who joins could be a potential life saver.

“For people who have had a transplant it is great. Every moment is treasured.

Those on the list are very brave and should be very proud of what they have done.”

And Ken, who is set to compete in this year’s British Transplant Games in August, said he understood those who feel uncomfortable about joining the list.

He said: “It is how people feel. Some people feel uncomfortable about it, they think the worst will happen if they join. It is a tough decision to make.”

Latest figures show there were 333 people waiting for an organ transplant in
Wales and last year 161 organs were transplanted into Welsh residents.

There are 826,000 people in Wales on the organ donation register – an increase of 20,000 on 2008-09.

Mrs Hart, who hopes to introduce an opt-out policy for organ donation, said: “It is important that people consider signing up to the register – and vital that they talk to their family about their views on organ donation.

“Our intention is to pursue legislative competence for a soft optout organ donation system in Wales at the earliest opportunity.

“With this system a patient’s family will still be consulted on whether they wish their relative to donate an organ on death.”

But Ken, who was himself on the donor list from the age of 17, said he backs the current system.

He said: “I think the system as it is works. The problem is healthy organs, it is hard to get healthy lungs. I had a friend who was given a transplant with a smoker’s

You can join the Organ Donor Register by visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk or calling 0300 123 23 23.