Page last updated at 17:20 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

TV campaign over donor 'crisis'

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Kidney Wales has launched a new TV advert appealing for new organ donors

A television advert which graphically depicts a young child on dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant is being screened across Wales.

Hundreds of people in Wales are waiting for transplants and the advert aims to encourage viewers to join the kidney donor register.

It features a six-year-old girl, played by an actor, pleading: "Don't let me die".

Kidney Wales Foundation said the country faced "an organ donor crisis".

The advert, screened from Thursday after 1930 GMT because of its graphic content, has been partly funded by a 70,000 grant from the assembly government.

Viewers are urged to "help save Sian" by joining the kidney donor register.

In Scotland, 32% of people have joined the register, yet in Wales, just 27% have made that life-saving pledge
Roy J Thomas, Kidney Wales Foundation

Health and Social Services Minister Edwina Hart said almost 500 people in Wales were waiting for a transplant, the majority needing a new kidney.

"Yet, because of the organ donor crisis, statistically one person dies every 11 days waiting for a transplant in the Principality - the equivalent of more than 150 people in the last five years," she said.

The advert is part of Kidney Wales Foundation's Donate Wales campaign which was launched last May. Since then, more than 34,000 people have joined the organ donor register.

Kidney Wales Foundation chairman Roy J Thomas said: "We are in the grips of an organ donor crisis in Wales and the urgency upon more people joining the organ donor register has never been greater.

"In Scotland, 32% of people have joined the register, yet in Wales, just 27% have made that life-saving pledge.

"This isn't because people don't want to help. We know 90% of people in Wales support organ donation. It is because not enough have acted on their good intentions and signed up."

The advert will run until 28 March.

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