Football fans in Luton are being urged to blow the whistle on organ transplant waiting lists, as NHS Blood and Transplant teams up with more than 45 sports organisations from top Premiership clubs to grassroots squads, including Luton Town Football Club. The Sign for Life campaign asks supporters across the country to think about organ donation and to be inspired by their club to score another name on the NHS Organ Donor Register as well as tell their family they want to be an organ donor.
Right now there are around 6,500 people waiting for a transplant across the UK, including 20 people in Luton. On average three people die every day in the UK because of the shortage of organs available. This situation needs to be shown the red card.
One organ donor can save or transform the lives of up to nine people. The goal is to get more fans, their families and friends signed by the NHS Organ Donor Register and talking about organ donation. If more families agreed to donate their loved one's organs, more lives could also be saved.
There are already more than 23,000 people on the NHS Organ Donor Register in Luton. NHS Blood and Transplant has joined forces with The Hatters to increase this number by asking their 12th man to help relegate deaths in need of a transplant. Fans are also asked to make their match day chat about organ donation.
Kevan Platt, Chief Operations Manager at Luton Town, said: "We are really proud to be supporting Sign for Life and we are encouraging our fans and their friends and family to join the Organ Donor Register and talk about organ donation. There are around 6,500 people on the transplant waiting list, including 20 in Luton, so we are asking our supporters to get behind the campaign and commit to saving and improving lives through organ donation."
Anthony Clarkson, Assistant Director for Organ Donation and Nursing at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We know that for any football fan their support for their club is a lifelong commitment and passion, and one that they will proudly discuss with all their family and friends.
"In partnership with clubs including Luton Town, we want fans to show the same pride about their decision to be an organ donor and tell everyone that they and their club are passionate about saving lives. Every club will have fans who are waiting for a lifesaving transplant. By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision you could save lives.
"We are delighted to have so many clubs working with us. Together we can use our national game as a force for good, and help end transplant waiting lists and people dying in need of a transplant."
Clubs across the country have pledged their support for the campaign, which runs until April 9, and also includes football associations, rugby clubs and cricket teams. The Sign For Life squad includes Everton Football Club, Queens Park Rangers, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Stoke, Northampton Town, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End, Brighton and Hove Albion, Brentford, Plymouth Argyle, MK Dons, Scunthorpe and Peterborough.
Teams will be supporting the campaign in different ways, for example, by including information on organ donation in match day programmes, via official club social media channels or on stadium advertising boards.
Fans can join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk/signforlife (http://bit.ly/2nhveqh) or call 0300 123 23 23. Let your family and friends know about your decision to be an organ donor. Join the conversation online, using the hashtag #signforlife
If there are other sports clubs in the Bedfordshire interested in getting involved in the Sign for Life campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.