Wunderman Thompson sheds light on child organ donor shortage

The campaign highlights the reality for more than 230 children

While most children are awaiting a visit from Santa this Christmas, more than 230 children are waiting for something else: a life-saving organ transplant.

Currently, there is a significant lack of child organ donors, resulting in children and their families waiting for a life-saving donation that sometimes will never come.

In a bid to raise vital awareness of the need for more child organ donors, integrated marketing agency Wunderman Thompson UK and NHS Blood & Transplant are launching Waiting to Live — a campaign that will see the children transformed into handmade dolls placed in waiting rooms across the country. 

Launching 21 November, the campaign will promote conversations around paediatric organ donation and encourage more parents to consider adding their children to the register. More than 230 dolls have been handmade by over 140 makers. Many of the dolls are based on real children on the waiting list.

Laura Saraiva and Charli Plant, creative leads behind the campaign at Wunderman Thompson UK, said: ‘This has been one of the most emotionally challenging but most rewarding campaigns we have ever worked on. Children on the transplant list wait for months, sometimes years, but this isn’t something that many people are aware of.

In 2021/22, just 52% of families who were approached about organ donation gave consent for their child’s organs to be donated. This represented just 40 organ donors under the age of 18. 

Waiting to Live builds on the Consider This campaign launched in September, which used radio and press to make a powerful appeal on behalf of the parents of three-year-old Ralph, who is waiting for a multi-organ transplant. Katie, Ralph’s mother, is an employee at Wunderman Thompson. 

Ralph and doll

Each doll will be wearing a badge with QR codes that links through to a dedicated campaign site, built by the Wunderman Thompson team, which allows people to listen to the stories of children who are waiting and sign their own children up for the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Featured image: Waiting to Live campaign