Facebook organ donor initiative welcomed

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Friday, May 4th, 2012
Community, News
The way you sign up to organ donations may never be the same again. Whereas before, the application form may have been off-putting for many prospective donors, now Facebook has made it easy to sign up to the life-saving gift.
The NHS Blood and Transplant hope that many more people will come forward and sign up through Facebook and because the person who signs up will have their activity shared on their news-feed, it is hoped this will encourage even more people to take the first step and decide to join the donor list.
Facebook’s new Timeline feature – which has had a mixed reception from Facebook members since it was launched several months ago – allows members to post about key life events, milestones and important dates and by clicking on a new health and well-being button, members can signal their intention to sign up and encourage friends on their own lists to follow suit. “We need more people to sign up to the register and share their wishes with their friends and family; our job is to make that as quick and easy as possible,” said Sally Johnson, NHSBT’s Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation. “This is an exciting new way to use the power of social media to reach a huge audience and encourage people to think about it, act, and share that information.” Facebook’s UK Director of Policy, Simon Milner, said, “Small acts of kindness happen every day on Facebook but we hope that our partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant will use the power of friendship to save lives. More than 30 million people in the UK will be able to show on their Timeline that they are either on the organ donation register already, or can register with the NHS on their Facebook page in a few simple steps. We hope that as a result of this partnership, UK Facebook users will together be able to reduce the number of people who needlessly die waiting for an organ each year.” Local Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has welcomed the Facebook organ donor initiative. Speaking to Newry Times, Mr Hazzard said, “Social media outlets such as Facebook are very popular ways of communicating especially amongst young people. I welcome the fact that Facebook have introduced a link for people to sign up as organ donors. At present, many people are dying due to a lack of available organs for transplant and any initiative that increases the number of organs available is to be welcomed.” “While polls shows that over 80% of people are in favour of organ donation, only 25% have actually signed up. This initiative by Facebook will allow people to sign up to be an organ donor and will also allow people to invite their Facebook friends and contacts to sign up as well.” Hazzard added, “I believe that this initiative has the capacity to increase the number of donors significantly and Facebook should be praised for raising the issue.”
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