Giving blood and signing up on the NHS Organ Donor Register should top the list of resolutions for the New Year, according to a charity.
The NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is urging people to help save lives in 2009 by committing to donating blood and joining the organ donors' register.
Chiefs at the charity say 7,000 donations are needed every day to help maintain healthy stocks of blood and almost 8,000 people are registered for a transplant, 1,000 of whom will die while waiting.
“Donation really does save lives”, said NHSBT chief executive Lynda Hamlyn.
“Every time someone gives blood or adds their name to the Organ Donor Register, they are offering the possibility of transforming someone else’s life and the lives of their families.
“At this time of year we all look back and wonder if we could have achieved more.
"If you are making resolutions for the year ahead, then please consider whether you could include making this gift of life part of your own intentions for 2009.
“Many people’s lives have been saved in 2008 and I would like to thank those donors whose generosity already makes possible the blood transfusions and transplants carried out every day across the NHS.
"To those who have always thought about becoming a regular blood donor or signing up to the Organ Donor Register, but have never got around to it, please make this your New Year’s resolution and act now.”
Dave Clarke, who received a replacement kidney on Christmas Eve in 2001, supports this call for action: “Before my transplant, I was ill for eleven months; today I am working full-time as a teacher.
"My kidney was the best gift I could ever have received and I am forever grateful to the donor and their family.
"Please make 2009 the year you join the NHS Organ Donor Register – it could save someone’s life.”
In 2004, Rachel Stanley suffered from a rare complication during pregnancy where foetal cells got into her blood, causing micro clots to form throughout her body.
All the natural clotting factors in the blood were used up and she needed 35 units of red cells and plasma to ‘flush’ her system, the equivalent of having all the blood in her body replaced four times.
Rachel said: "Because of blood donations my life was saved - I'm able to watch my children grow up and was present at the birth of my granddaughter.
"Please don't just leave donating to someone else, make a New Year’s resolution to become a lifesaver today."
For your nearest blood donation session or to book an appointment, please ring 0845 7 711 711 or visit http://www.blood.co.uk.
Take part in the NHS online survey.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves