My Friend Oli
Since Oli's life saving double lung transplant in November 2007 he began training for his participation in the 2008 Tresco Marathon following a challenge set by his brother while in hospital post-transplant.
Oli successfully ran the final mile of the marathon alongside a team of Marines - who were in full kit with 30lb bergans for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. You can read Oli's pre-race training blog, as well as his thoughts of the race day.
There are many more Oli's out there still waiting for a phone call. Please ask everyone you know to sign the Organ Donor Register today: www.uktransplant.org.uk
I have a young friend named Oli who never goes anywhere without a mobile phone that is always on but never used. If all goes well, the phone will only be used once: to receive a call from the transplant unit telling him that they have found a suitable heart and lungs for him.
Oli is twenty-two years old and has cystic fibrosis. Without a transplant he faces a life of increasing breathlessness and a very early death. When the call comes, he will have three hours to say goodbye to loved ones, get to the hospital, and be wheeled into an operating theatre. But the call may never come.
Oli is one of some 8,000 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant. His chances of getting a call in time are about 50-50, he has been told.
For somebody somewhere, it may be the most important minute you ever take
Surveys show that people overwhelmingly support the concept of organ donations and that more than 90 per cent of us would be glad to know that our organs were being used to help others after our own deaths. But only about twenty per cent of us sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register. In tragic consequence nearly 500 people die unnecessarily each year because suitable transplant organs cannot be found for them in time.
For that reason, I'm launching a campaign to get as many people as possible to sign on to the national register. My hope is that by this time next year we'll be able to say that Durham has the most signed up university students, staff and alumni in the United Kingdom.
It only takes a minute or so to register online, or you can ring 0845 60 60 400.