TUESDAY 14 FEB 2017 11:51 AM


Sharing one’s heart with another is a romantic sentiment, but one that would result in death for both involved if practically carried out. Instead, the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service says it’s easier to share ‘Kidney Shaped Love’

The NHSBT has taken the opportunity provided by Valentine’s Day to encourage openness, conversation and understanding about organ donation. Last year’s series of short videos featured awkward first dates where strangers shared uncomfortable truths. It was designed to make the conversation about organ donation less awkward. This year, the NHSBT is back – in association with storytelling agency Aesop, once again – with a video and song about kidney donation.

The song and video, titled ‘Kidney Shaped Love,’ take place in a romantic Valentine’s-esque cabaret and features comedian Alex Smith on stage. The sarcastic song features lyrics like, “I’d give you my heart, but I’d have to be dead...So please have my kidney instead.” The awkward audience reactions harken back to last year’s awkward first date moments.

The campaign was conceived of because the UK waiting list for kidney donations is about 5,000 people and is more than all other organ lists combined. The NHSBT polled over 1,000 people and found that 48% were aware of live kidney donation and 61% said they would consider becoming a donor.

“More than 250 patients died last year waiting for a kidney transplant due to a shortage of people willing to donate after their death or during their lifetime. Living donation is highly successful and thousands of people have had their lives transformed thanks to people willing to give a kidney whilst they are alive,” says lead nurse for living donation at NHSBT, Lisa Burnapp.

Smith’s song explains, with a good dose of humour, how living donation works and why kidney donors are necessary. The NHSBT’s use of comedy and timing has allowed it to become part of the Valentine’s Day social media conversation.

“Although living organ donation didn’t seem like a natural fit with Valentine’s Day at firs, the idea of someone wanting to give away their kidney rather than their heart made sense somehow,” Aesop’s creative director Stephen Lynch says. “It also offered up an opportunity to use humour to achieve standout for a very serious topic.”

The video has already had over 116,000 views on Facebook in just over a week.

To read more about last year’s campaign, ‘Share the Love,’ click here.