Monday, 23 July 2012

Robert Carlyle backs the Evening Times' Opt for Life campaign

Scots actor Robert Carlyle backs the Evening Times' Opt for Life organ donation campaign

The Full Monty and Trainspotting star signed the Glasgow Evening Times petition calling for an opt-out system of organ donation in Scotland.

The Glasgow actor said he was "absolutely delighted" to support the plea for a change in the country's transplant laws to help drive up donor rates.

The 51-year-old put pen to paper at Glasgow's Royal Infirmary, at an event organised by Kidney Research UK (Scotland).

The Maryhill-born actor recently had surgery to remove a growth from his nose.

Scores of Scots celebrities have already backed the campaign including presenter and journalist Lorraine Kelly, football pundit Alan Hansen, cyclist Graeme Obree and Old Firm legends Davie Hay and Derek Johnstone and writer Denise Mina.

A poll carried out by the Evening Times showed half the country's MSPs would support a switch to an opt-out system where everyone is automatically a donor unless they say no.

Carlyle is busy promoting his latest film, California Solo, where he plays an ageing rocker facing deportation after being caught drink driving.

He can also be seen on Channel 5 on Sunday nights in the television fantasy drama series, Once Upon a Time.

Liz McGuinness, regional fundraiser for Kidney Research UK, was manning the petition stall at the GRI when she spotted the actor.

She said: "I explained to him that people were spending four hours on dialysis because they are waiting for transplants.

"He gave me a kiss and said you are doing a fantastic job. He was really supportive and lovely."

As the paper's media partner, Kidney Research UK has been working hard to promote the petition the length and breadth of Scotland and thousands have signed up.

Around 90% of patients who are waiting for a transplant are waiting for a kidney.

The campaign has been backed by the British Medical Association, the British Heart Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

More than half of Scots are not on the current organ donor register despite research showing the majority support the idea of organ donation.

Supporters of opt-out say the current system leaves relatives facing an agonising decision because they do not know their loved ones' wishes.

Research shows countries with an opt-out system in place tend to have higher donor rates.

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