A regional daily has smashed its own appeal target after signing up thousands of readers as organ donors.
The Southern Daily Echo had hoped to get 2,000 readers to sign up to the donor register within seven weeks after launching its Seven Weeks To Say I Donate campaign.
However, less than three weeks into the drive, the Southampton-based Echo has announced a total of 3,642 people on its patch have been recruited to the cause.
The Echo carried the news on its front page yesterday, pictured below.
Nicky Matthews, NHS Blood and Transplant a specialist nurse in organ donation based at University Hospital Southampton, told the paper: “It’s fantastic to see so many people signing up to the Organ Donor Register.
“The Daily Echo’s campaign has really brought organ donation to the forefront in Hampshire and we hope many more people will continue to sign up as a result.
“It’s vital everyone who wants to be an organ donor also makes sure they tell their families their decision.
“Organ donation transforms and saves lives, but sadly, there is a shortage of organs.”
The family of Russell Holmes, a 26-year-old man whose organs saved four lives after he died from a brain hameorrhage, have also thanked the Echo.
His mother Pauline said: “It’s been overwhelming that people read the articles and took it on board, how precious it is, the gift of life is so amazing.
“It gives me comfort to see these people and know that they’ve received the gift of life and know that my son’s life wasn’t wasted.
“I thank the Daily Echo for doing this campaign; without the publicity it wouldn’t have drawn people’s attention and we wouldn’t have had this response.”
Russell’s sister, Claire Mercier, added: “It’s just an incredible reaction from the general public for the articles that you’ve printed. It was quite heart-warming to know that people have read the stories and seen what a life-changer it would be to know that somebody’s waiting for that organ and they can help.
“It’s such an incredible reaction, all credit to the Daily Echo.”