The Duchess of York and the Huddersfield Giants are leading the charge on an organ donor registration campaign.
Sarah, Duchess of York, has joined sides with the Giants as part of her ongoing Be A Hero drive, which she hopes will get people living in the town to sign up in their droves and inform their family of their wishes.
Already a register member herself, she made an impassioned plea to others at the University of Huddersfield’s 3M Buckley Innovation Centre flanked by players Eorl Crabtree, Jamie Foster and Oliver Roberts and Dr Justin McKinlay, a consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and clinical lead for organ donation.
According to NHS statistics, the UK has one of the lowest rates of families consenting to their relative donating organs after their death, with only 58 per cent of families agreeing for this to happen in 2015, even if they knew their relative was on the register.
The Duchess said: “I think it’s really important to sign up.
“There are 7,000 people in the UK who need a transplant and three die a day as they don’t get one in time.
“A lot of people don’t do a lot of things because of fears. I was one of those people until I got to understand the importance, thanks to the University of Huddersfield.
“I visited people waiting for transplants, including a young child, who if a donor had not been found within two weeks she would not still be here. Because of a transplant, she now has a life.
“When you die you’re not there so after your death if you’re on the list you can save someone’s life.”
Dr McKinlay is heavily involved in the Be A Hero campaign, which was launched last year by the Leeds Hospitals Trust.
“At the moment in the UK there are 19.2organ donations per one million people.
“This is compared with 36 per one million in Spain.
“We’re one of the lowest donor countries in the world so it’s important to get our consent rates up.
“One donor can potentially save nine people’s lives.”
“They have the power to turn a tragedy into something positive.”
He spoke positively of the opt-out donor register scheme in Wales and believes if every hospital performs well it could drive donations per million people up to 30.