Organ donation increase

Jonathan Bowman with his transplant games medals. d306a236

Jonathan Bowman with his transplant games medals. d306a236

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A transplant patient believes more work needs to be done to encourage organ donations.

Athlete Jonathan Bowman, from Royd Wood, Cleckheaton, has welcomed government figures that the number of altruistic organ donations has trebled in the last year, but believes this is only the beginning.

During 2012/13, the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) approved 104 non-directed (from live donors who don’t know the patient they are donating to) cases, compared to 38 in 2011/12.

Jonathan said: “It is encouraging that this is happening, but it would be great to see more, as once an organ is donated, it has to be matched to the right blood type, so it is important that there is as much variety as possible.

“I think the reason for the increase in donations is probably that people are more aware of it and the benefits that it gives to people.”

Diana Warwick, chairwoman of the HTA, said: “Giving someone an organ is a brave and amazing gift, and the huge increase in people willing to donate is incredible.”

Jonathan, 26, first featured in the Reporter Series 12 years ago when his mother, Stephanie, donated one of her kidneys to him.

He has since gone on to become a top long-distance athlete, competing at national level in the transplant games since 2005. He has won numerous medals in the games – bringing home gold and silver in the 3K and 15K races respectively last year.

Jonathan, who is a trainee accountant at Cromacks in Morley, also wanted to encourage more people to donate organs, and believes the rewards are there for all to see.

He said: “If anyone is thinking of it, I would tell them to just go for it.

“My mum always says how great it is to know I am well again – and it is very rewarding for her to know she has helped.

“For me personally, if I had not got the donation, I would have had to be on dialysis every day, so it really helped give me my life back.”

The most common organ donations are kidneys and liver lobes (parts of the liver) and can be organised through the HTA.

If you are interested in donating an organ, visit www.hta.gov.uk.

Jonathan will compete at this year’s British Transplant Games in Sheffield, which takes place from August 15-18.