Villa in the Community: Delph becomes organ donor ambassador
Villa midfielder Fabian Delph has joined hospital consultants in Birmingham as part of a new team with the 'goal' of boosting the number of organ donors.
Delph has become an ambassador for a new "I have" campaign which aims to encourage more people to join the Organ Donor Register, as well as tell their loved ones of their decision.
The NHS Blood and Transplant campaign follows recent survey figures revealing that although 82 per cent of people in England want to be organ donors, only 50 per cent have told their family.
But consultants at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham have teamed up with Villa on a planned community initiative.
Dr Steffen Kroll, Clinical Lead for Organ Donation at QEHB, said he had approached Villa with a view to getting the Premier League club involved in a community event.
The consultant anaesthetist, said: "The overall aim is to raise awareness of organ donation and to get people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register, but also to discuss this with their families.
"The key message we want to get across is that transplantation is highly effective with five year survival rates of well over 90 per cent.
"Unfortunately there is a lack of available organs and, because of that, on average, three patients are dying every day while waiting for an organ."
He added: "Last year 125 families refused organ donation despite the fact that their loved one had given consent in life. To support the campaign University Hospitals Birmingham, which runs QEHB, is looking to recruit volunteers to run an organ donation stand in the main entrance of the new hospital on the first Tuesday of every month.
"NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people to tell their families if they want to donate their organs, as well as join the Organ Donor Register."
Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHSBT, said: "We're delighted that so many people in the UK want to be organ donors but only half of those who want to donate have told their family.
"If you don't tell anyone your decision, how will your loved ones know what it is? Tell them that should the time come, you'd be proud to donate your organs. Then there will be no uncertainty."
Fabian Delph said he was delighted to be ambassador for the 'I have' campaign.
He told us: "It is so traumatic to lose a loved one and I would imagine that donating organs is the last thing you'd want to do when you're going through a period of loss.
"But if you've already had the conversation with your family, explained your reasons and why it's so important to you, it makes it easier for them."
Villa have already supported the campaign by hosting an event in December at which the loved ones of people who donated their organs for transplant were recognised with an award from the Order of St John.
The club will be making a special presentation at its home game with West Bromwich Albion on January 29 to the mother of a Villa fan who donated his organs to help others.
Villa are holding a community event in the near future at which individuals will be able to join the Organ Donor Register.