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Dedicated to Donation: The Rising Need for Organ Transplants & Why It’s So Important to Become a Donor
It’s not often that a person can give the gift of life. But by signing up to be an organ donor, they can. With more than 116,000 people on the waiting list to receive an organ transplant, this selfless act gives hope to people waiting for a miracle that could save their life.
Becoming an organ donor can do a lot of good for others, and also provides meaning and gratitude for the donor. Just one organ donor can save eight lives. Some of the other statistics might be surprising. According to Donate Life America, more than 138 million people, or about 56 percent of the US adult population, are registered as donors. One tissue donor can help more than 75 people. And, an astonishing 48,000 patients have their sight restored each year through corneal transplants.
To help raise awareness of this growing need, Donate Life America established April as National Donate Life Month (NDLM). By registering to be a donor through Donate Life America, a person will be placed in a national database of potential donors and not be limited to their home state (as is the case when requesting it through your driver’s license).
In observance of NDLM, and in support of the urgent need of donors, people are encouraged to wear green and blue on April 12.
What does it mean to be an organ donor?
Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to be a donor … maybe a family member or friend’s life has been saved through an organ transplant, or perhaps it has to do with providing meaning even after death. Whatever the reason, it’s a personal one and can inspire compassion and purpose in this world. Choosing to be a donor says you care and life matters.
For those receiving an organ transplant, it means they can go home to their families, be a functioning member of society, and achieve an improved quality of life.
Why don’t more people donate?
Becoming an organ donor is a big decision. When deciding whether to register, there are a number of reasons that can cause hesitation. Sometimes people lack an understanding about the importance of organ donation. Additionally, people worry about the level of emergency care they will receive if the doctor knows they are a donor, or they feel they are too old or not healthy enough to be eligible.
The reality is when a person goes to a hospital to receive life-saving treatment, their life comes first – and every effort is made to preserve that life. Donating organs is not considered or even discussed until after death has been declared.
When it comes to age and health, there is no age limit to donate your organs. According to organdonor.gov, the oldest donor to date was 93. People who are under 18 can still be registered to donate but must receive a parent’s or guardian’s authorization. There are very few medical conditions that disqualify a person from donating. And while one organ might be unsuitable, other organs could prove to be transplantable.
For everyone who has lost a loved one while waiting for an organ transplant and every person who has been saved through donation, it’s a reminder of how important it is to register, how valuable life is, and how as a community we can come together for a cause through one simple act.