Gift Of Life, a new three-part series from True North for Channel 5, follows the real-life journeys of patients in need of life-saving organ transplants. Based at the Institute of Transplantation, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, each episode will focus on patients as they wait in hope for organs to become available before their window for life saving surgery closes forever.
But even if the organ does reach them in time, they still face enormous physical and emotional battles to overcome complex surgery and make it along the road to recovery.
With exclusive access to the Institute of Transplantation, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne over the course of six months, along with the patients and their families, Gift of Life will offer an intimate insight into one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching experiences most people will be fortunate enough never to have to experience.
Amongst others, the series will focus on six year-old Ella, who suffers from a congenital heart defect and is in urgent need of a heart transplant, and 22 year old cystic fibrosis sufferer, Holly, whose time is almost up following a two year wait for a double lung transplant. The series will also get close to the transplant coordinators, surgeons and nurses who share in the patients’ difficult journeys as they fight for survival.
Ricardo Pollack at True North said: “With exclusive access to one of the world’s leading transplant facilities, this new series shows how successful transplants can completely transform people’s lives. By also showing the terrible impact the shortage of organs can have, it highlights the desperate need for a national increase in organ donations. Featuring heart-wrenching stories of courage and anguish playing out on a daily basis, Gift of Life will bring viewers closer to the realities faced by those in need of life-saving surgery than ever before.”
Channel 5’s Factual Commissioner Guy Davies said: “Gift of Life is a beautifully produced and inspiring insight into the stories of patients and their families who face organ transplantation, often as their final chance. If anyone can convince people to sign up to the organ register, it’s the contributors of this emotional series.”
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Programmes like this show that transplants really do save lives, but they wouldn’t be possible without people donating their organs after death. With three people dying every day in the UK in need of a transplant, more needs to be done to increase the number of organs available. Tell those closest to you that you want to be a donor so that when the time comes it will make the decision that much easier for your family and more lives will be saved.”
Around 10,000 people in the UK currently need a transplant, so it’s vital that people sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR) and tell their families about their decision. To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.
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