Jane Monks, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at NHSBT, said: “Transplants can be carried out between people from different ethnic groups, but an organ is more likely to be a close match, and as a result a transplant is much more likely to be successful, if the donor and recipient have the same ethnic origin. Becoming an organ donor means that you could help save or enhance up to nine lives.
“It is vital that more Black and Asian people join the NHS Organ Donor Register. The message is quite simple – more Black and Asian patients will have the opportunity to receive a life-saving transplant if more people from those communities join the Register."
Currently, 18 per cent of patients awaiting organ transplants in the North West are of Black and / or Asian ethnic origin. This demographic accounts for almost two per cent of people who have signed the ODR.
"In particular, Black, ethnic and rare blood groups can be forced to wait an average of three years or more to receive a kidney transplant among other life saving operations. I urge you to raise awareness of this shortage. Think about organ donation, think about saving lives. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register today.
"Encourage family members to honour and respect that decision to ensure the gift of life is passed on. Be the reason loved ones across the UK are given a second chance, wouldn't you want that for yours? You have the power to save lives, make a difference."
Actress Shobna Gulati who plays Sunita in Coronation Street added: “I used to think that organ donation was a difficult decision to make but then I realised you can leave a tangible legacy, and it's actually really straightforward. For our communities, putting your name on that Register could make a real difference. Just do it and encourage your family and friends too - we can all help save lives."
Tony Morris, ITV Granada Reports presenter, said: “I've been on the NHS Organ Donor Register for a number of years and I strongly believe it's something everyone should do. The shortage of donors in Black and minority ethnic communities is a problem that won't go away until people come forward.
"A few months ago we covered a story on Granada Reports about a little boy who's dying wish was to donate - and his totally selfless gesture meant another five people could live. If I can help just one person in that way I'll be honoured. Please sign up because you could make a real difference."
Between April 2010 - March 2011, more than 7,300 organ and cornea transplants (3,740 organ and 3,564 cornea transplants) were carried out in the UK, thanks to the generosity of deceased and living donors – the highest on record.
• Everyone can join the NHS Organ Donor Register - just visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or www.facebook.com/organdonationuk, or call the NHS Donor Line on 0300 123 00 00 or text ORGAN to 64118.