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Monday, October 19, 1998 Published at 01:49 GMT 02:49 UK


Tony and Cherie pledge organs

Organ donations are being stopped by relatives

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are backing a campaign to promote organ donation by collecting their first donor cards.

The BBC's Karen Bowerman: Relatives are uncertain about organ donations
There is concern that not enough people are telling their families if they want their organs to be used following their death.

Mr and Mrs Blair have not so far carried cards showing that they wanted to be organ donors in the event of their death.

"But they have now been convinced and inspired by this campaign to do so," a spokesman said.

[ image: Mr and Mrs Blair want to help someone else in the event of their death]
Mr and Mrs Blair want to help someone else in the event of their death
The Department of Health donor campaign comes amid fears that about one in four requests for organ donation are rejected by relatives.

Campaign publicity - including advertisements on television, radio and cinema - features members of the public telling their nearest and dearest that they wish to be donors.

Among the people taking part in the campaign is 23-year-old student Ian Latham from Milton Keynes.

He said: "Doing this was important to me because I think the idea of organ donation should be important to everyone.

"If you have a chance to save somebody's life after your time is up, then in a way that makes death a bit easier."

Helping someone live

Health minister Baroness Hayman, who will launch the campaign in London on Monday, said: "Even if you carry a card or have your name on the NHS organ donor register, your family will be asked whether they agree to donation.

"Knowing what their loved one would have wanted helps make that decision so much clearer.

"That is why it is so important that people who are prepared to become donors should discuss it with their nearest and dearest, to let them know their wishes."

Lady Hayman said she hoped the campaign "will bring that message clearly home to the many people who would like to help someone live on in the event of their own death".

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