ALMOST 500 people in Dorset are alive today thanks to organ donation.

The number of people living in the county who are currently known to alive as a result of transplants has reached 488.

The figure, released by NHS Blood and Transplant as part of the 'transplant activity report', shows the UK-wide number of people living thanks to organ donations has reached 50,000.

In Dorset, the number of people on the donation register has increased by 26 per cent in the past five years.

There are now 330,420 people on the NHS register in Dorset, compared to 261,308 five years ago. In Poole alone, 64,924 people are on the register. Five years ago, the figure was 52,175.

However, there is still a shortage of organ donors and three people in need of the transplant die every day in the UK.

Sally Johnson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “More people than ever in Dorset are committing to organ donation and that is saving more lives than ever.

"It’s amazing to picture all the people now alive today thanks to organ donation and think of all the families and children who have grown up thanks to donors.

“We’re seeing more and more people committing to donation and the good results of our close work with hospitals. Our specialist nurses in organ donation are now almost always involved in discussions with families over organ donation.

“However, there is still a long way to go. Around three people still die a day in need of a transplant. Every one of those people who die could be a mother or a father, a daughter or a son, who might be alive today."

Last year, 41 Dorset residents received a transplant. Five years ago, 33 people from the county benefitted from organ donation.

Anyone can sign up as a donor. Age and existing medical conditions "shouldn't stop you from signing up", Sally said.

Nationally, around 6,400 people are still waiting for a transplant, and there is a particular need for people from black and Asian backgrounds to sign up.

Sally said: “Families tell us donation is a source of pride that helps them in their grieving process.

"We don’t want anyone in Dorset to miss the opportunity to save lives through organ donation."

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