THE decision to include a new status update on Facebook showing whether someone is an organ donor has been welcomed by the Eastbourne man who took to the social networking site to appeal for a new kidney.
Technology guru and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg revealed this week that the site would start to feature options for advertising the fact they are signed up to organ registers as well as providing information on how to join for those not already pledging their organs.
Speaking to the American press, Mr Zuckerberg said, “People are using the same social tools that they’re using just to keep in touch with people on a day-to-day basis to solve these important social issues.
“So, we figured, OK, well, could we do anything that would help people solve other types of issues, like all of the people who need organ donations in the world?”
The hope is that by making it easier for people to sign up through Facebook it will encourage more young people to join the register.
Just last week the Herald featured the story of Nathanael Adams – a 29-year-old man who set up a Facebook group asking for a kidney donor to come forward after waiting seven years for one without luck.
And his story spread – with US news websites picking up on it and using it as an example of how social networking can be used to tackle a lack of suitable donors.
And, having heard of the websites’ decision to encourage people to become donors, Mr Adams told the Herald, “I think the Facebook idea to help promote organ donation is a great idea.
“Facebook is used by millions worldwide, so not only will it help to raise awareness about the lack of organs and donors around the world, but it will hopefully encourage more people to sign up to the organ donor register to donate their organs too.
“For people like myself, this is great news, of course.
“The more people who are donating organs, the greater the chance of people like myself being transplanted.
“Three people a week still die in the UK while waiting for a transplant because there aren’t enough to go around, and the biggest waiting list is for kidneys. So, the more people who can sign up, the better it is for everyone waiting for a transplant.
“And, having had a transplant before, I know just how much of a difference a second hand organ can make to a person’s life and outlook.”
There has already been a great response to Mr Adams’ story. In fact one local, former councillor Alex Hough, has even been in touch offering to be tested to see if she can provide a match.
She said, “My plans to donate fell through when the recipient wasn’t well enough, so I have a spare one that has been worked up and is in pristine condition.
“If we are a match, it would be good for someone from Eastbourne to have it.”
For more information on organ donation, or to sign up, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or your GP or hospital.