Record Numbers Join NHS Organ Donation Register After ITV Campaign

ITV's awareness raising campaign for organ donation, From The Heart, drove a record number of responses to the NHS Organ Donor Register online on February 13th, with 48,000 people applying to join the register in one day.

ITV’s special week of activity on-air and online, included two hours of peak time programming devoted to raising awareness of, and examining the issues around organ donation. On February 13th, a Tonight special on organ donation at 8pm was followed by an entertainment show at 9pm, From The Heart.

On the day these programmes aired, NHS Blood and Transplant experienced a record breaking amount of people logging on to their site to join the Organ Donor Register - more donation pledges on a single day than ever before.

Throughout the week beginning February 11th, a range of ITV shows and news programmes explored and highlighted the shortage of donated organs, the implications and the reasons behind it, encouraging viewers to join the Organ Donor Register, and to talk to their loved ones about their wishes.

An ITV twitter campaign ran throughout the week, with a host of famous faces including Ashley Roberts, Alexandra Burke, Torvill and Dean and Keith Lemon posing for twitpics of themselves forming a heart shape with their hands, using the hashtag, #fromtheheart.

A dedicated webpage housed a range of information on organ donation, as well as a 'join the register' button to make the process of signing up easy for viewers who wish to.

Throughout the week as a whole (February 11th - February 17th), a total of close to 147,000 people logged on to register their wish to be an organ donor.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said:

"We are absolutely delighted with the huge response from members of the public to ITV’s From the Heart campaign. When ITV approached us about an organ donation campaign, we knew it was an opportunity we couldn’t refuse and we are so grateful to them for giving so much air-time to the need for more organ donors. Together we have been able to encourage people right across the UKto join the Organ Donor Register and to talk about organ donation with their families.

"We could not have foreseen the unprecedented numbers of people who responded to the call to join the Organ Donor Register. We want people in the UK to be proud to call themselves an organ donor and each and every person who picked up the phone or logged on to join up this week should feel uplifted. This campaign has been about explaining why it’s so important to say yes to organ donation – quite simply more lives would be saved as more people would get the organs they desperately need. So to each and every person who is now on the Register and crucially, has told their family, thank you."