Teach Kids About Transplants with Cuddly Toys

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Sep 6, 2017

Teach Kids About Transplants with Cuddly Toys

Every child has that heart-breaking moment when their favourite cuddly toy loses an arm, an ear, or a tail. Once the tears have calmed, it’s time for you to fix things

Inspired by this common childhood occurrence in conjunction with the severe lack of donors following recent changes to organ transplant law in Japan, Second Life Toys looks not only to fix beloved plushies, but to educate families about the importance of transplants.

Children can take part by sending ‘donor toys’ – cuddly toys that are loved, but no longer played with – or by requesting a donor be found to give their damaged toy a new lease of life. Those who receive a transplant for their stuffed animal are asked to send a thank-you letter to the donor toy’s family.

Young child cuddles monkey toy in hospital while sleeping

With only around 300 out of the 14,000 patients awaiting transplants in Japan each year recieving life-changing donations, creators Akira Suzuki and Togo Kida hope to raise awareness and educate families on the need for more organ donors.

Across the UK, approximately 6,500 people are in need of an organ transplant , including 150 children and teenagers. An estimated three people in need of organ transplants die each day, despite over 23.5 million registered organ donors as of March 2017. Only one in 100 people who die in the UK do so under circumstances where their organs could be considered for transplant.

Although 80% of people support organ donation, less than 50% discuss their wishes with family, resulting in 53% of families refusing permission for organ donation to go ahead. Regardless of the individual's wishes and status as a registered organ donor, the NHS abide by the wishes of family members.

As part of National Organ Donation week (previously National Transplant Week) this September 4–10, the NHS are encouraging people across the UK to discuss organ donation with their families, and to make sure that their loves ones know how they feel.

If you’re interested in learning more or promoting organ donation, the NHS hub offers key information, tips, and more. Free teaching resources, real-life stories, and guidance packs to help engage kids and teens aged 11–16 about organ and tissue donation are also available.

Find out more about becoming an organ donator, organ donation and National Organ Donation week, visit NHS Blood and Transplant.

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