ONE South Tynesider has signed up to be an organ donor every 90 minutes since the start of a Gazette-backed lifesaving campaign.
‘In Miley’s Memory’ was launched by the family of Miley Turbitt on February 11.
The 14-week-old, diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – which caused her heart muscle to thicken, preventing blood from being pumped around her body, died last November after a Europe-wide search for a heart donor failed to find one in time Her family hoped her story would encourage people to sign up to the organ donation register.
Now, figures released from NHS Blood and Transplant reveal that 275 people in South Tyneside have added their name to the organ donation register in the 15 days after the start of the campaign, an average of 18 per day.
The figure has delighted Miley’s mum Sharon Eckert and her family, who have been overwhelmed by the response to the campaign.
Ms Eckert, 38, from Westmorland Road, South Shields, said: “At times it has been really hard doing this campaign, as Miley is not here. Nothing we can do will ever bring her back, but to know people are taking notice of our campaign really means the world to me and my family.
“It’s brilliant to find so many people have signed up to be organ donors since the start of the campaign.
“It has made it all worthwhile, and I don’t feel as though Miley died for nothing.
“I just hope people who haven’t signed up yet really consider doing so, as you could save someone’s life.”
As part of the campaign, the family has also launched a petition in a bid to change the organ donation system to one which is automatic unless a person opts out.
A spokesman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “It’s great that people have joined the Organ Donor Register in South Tyneside as a result of this campaign.
“By raising awareness of organ donation, the Shields Gazette is getting people talking about and acting on their wishes, and both are vital.
“We need everyone to think about organ donation, sign up to the register and tell their loved ones.”
Completed forms should be handed in to the Shields Gazette reception in Chapter Row, South Shields, by March 28.