A SUPERMARKET worker desperately waiting for a heart transplant is urging people to join the organ donor register and help reduce the number of patients waiting for a lifesaving operation.

Patrick McCann, 34, was born with a heart defect and has been waiting for more than two years in the hope of receiving a transplant.

In that time he has received just one call about a possible new heart but that operation was unable to go ahead because of an issue with the donor organ.

His appeal comes as it was revealed 55 people died in East Lancashire in the last decade waiting for a transplant.

Mr McCann is one of just 58 people in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale currently hoping a organ match will be found before their condition deteriorates too far.

He said: "I feel I have allowed the events of the last year or two to trouble me greatly.

"Some days I struggle to find the motivation to live my life.

"I just find I concentrate too much on all the negative aspects of the past few months.

"Please, please can people put their names on the organ donor register to end the agonising wait not just for me but hundreds of other people who need this life-saving treatment."

This number of people waiting for a transplant in East Lancashire is down from 84 in October last year, but it is not known how many of the 26 patients no longer on the list lived long enough to receive a donor organ.

Across Lancashire 134 people died waiting for a transplant in the last 10 years.

Mr McCann, of Barley Street, Padiham, said: "I have been waiting for a heart transplant since August 17, 2015.

"My journey to this point has had many ups and downs, like a lot of people in my position, or of those who have ever waited for a transplant.

"I received my first call after five months on the list. It was a very emotional few hours, from receiving the call to being informed the transplant was not going to go ahead.

"However I still spend a lot of time thinking a lot about my life, and how I should try to learn to enjoy my life more, through all the uncertainty of waiting for a call.

"2016 taught me to not take the whole ‘waiting’ thing so literally, which is what I have done since being on the list, always looking at my phone throughout the day, wondering if it has rang and that maybe I haven’t heard it."

This month there are 12 people in Blackburn with Darwen, 10 people in Burnley, 14 people in Hyndburn, seven people in Pendle, five people in Rossendale, less than five people in Ribble Valley and 10 people in Chorley all waiting for a transplant.

Mr McCann, who works six hours a week in Padiham's Tesco store, was backed in his calls for organ donors by Susan Robinson from Chipping.

Her 16-year-old daughter Stephanie had her life transformed when she received a new kidney on December 2016 and is now at Blackburn College.

Mrs Robinson said: "My daughter is doing well and her life has been totally changed.

"More people need to go on the register.

"I am holding a coffee morning on Wednesday in Chipping Village Hall from 10am to noon to raise awareness of this crucial issue."

Dad-of-two Daniel Ashworth waited three years for his kidney transplant.

The 43-year-old from Burnley's Rosegrove said: "It has transformed my life and that of my family's.

"More people are needed to go on the organ donation register so they can give new life to people if they sadly die."

The latest figures were released by the NHS Blood and Transplant Authority to launch Organ Donation Week which starts today.

In the last 10 years 11 people in Blackburn with Darwen, six people in Burnley, 11 people in Hyndburn, six people in Pendle, six people in Rossendale and 15 people in Chorley died while waiting for an organ.

There are no precise figures for Ribble Valley as the figure recorded was 'below five'.

The waiting list fall was said to be partly to do with an increase in the in number of organ donations both locally and nationally.

In 2016/17 1,413 deceased organ donors in the UK gave 4,741 organs compared with 1,364 donors and 4,660 organs in 2015/16.

In Lancashire the figure rose from 29 donors in 2015/16 to 40 in 2016/17, a 38 per cent rise.

Anthony Clarkson, national assistant director of organ donation and transplantation, said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Lancashire waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

“This Organ Donation Week, tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference."

Mr Clarkson said that in Lancashire there was a particular need for more black and Asian people to talk about donation.

There are 29 black or Asian people in the county currently waiting for a matched organ, which is more likely from their own community.

To join the organ donor register visit www.livelifegivelife.org.uk or at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by phoning 0300 123 23 23.