Donate & Save a Life

There are over 120,000 people waiting for organs. In a day, 22 people waiting for organs will die. That is a classroom full of people. One donor can save up to eight lives and improve the lives of over 50 people!

April is National Donate Life month. Let’s take a look at organ donation and maybe this will be the month you make a decision to save someone’s life.

What is organ donation?
You can donate organs, tissues and eyes through the national organ donor registry. You have the right to choose all organs and tissues, or just the ones of your preference.

You can choose to be a deceased donor or a living donor. Living donors can provide a kidney, portions of the lung, intestines, eyes and tissues. Deceased donors can provide kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart and intestines. They can also provide tissues and corneas.

These organs or tissues are taken from the donor if proven to be a match and quickly transplanted into the recipient. Once an organ has been removed from the donor it must be transplanted very quickly. Organs are no longer viable if too much time passes. Usually, the organs are transported via air support.

How is the determination made when it’s time to donate the organs?
Most organs are donated after an accident, stroke or an aneurysm. There is typically severe head trauma. Doctors will assess and try to provide as many life-saving mechanisms as possible. After repeatedly trying all life-saving mechanisms doctors will determine over a period of time if brain death has occurred. Patients who are determined to have brain death cannot breathe on their own. Brain death is irreversible and is not a coma. At this point the donation registry is checked. If the person is a donor, the registry is alerted and the recovery of organs begins after a match is identified.

Saving Lives
Imagine you are waiting for an organ. You are probably hospitalized or receiving round-the-clock care waiting for a match and donor. The relief and hope of finding a donor could be possible. It’s as simple as registering yourself to donate in whatever fashion you choose. Each state runs their own registry.

In signing up to be a donor you understand that every life-saving mechanism would be used to save you if you were ever in need. But knowing your organs can be used to save and help people if you suffer brain death is a great feeling. I have been an organ donor since I was 20 years old. I feel proud that I could help someone in need.

Last year donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible. Unfortunately, it’s still not enough. There are still thousands dying while waiting for organs. You have the power to change that. Each day there are 10 more people added to the waiting list for organs. There are 79 people receiving transplants a day.

Why do people need organ transplants?
Organ failure creates a need for a new organ. The cause can be from illness or injury. Some organs are damaged by the person’s behavior, but some are damaged from acquiring a disease. Some damage is caused by medications taken to help other illnesses the person had. There are many reasons an organ can fail. Saving a life is saving a life. The renewed hope for life with your gift is life-saving.

Not Sure If You Can Be A Donor?
Anyone regardless of age or medical history can be a donor. Most religions accept organ donation and consider a last act of love and life. There is no cost to donors or their families. Think you are too old? You are not. The largest donor population in 2014 were people ages 50-64 years old. Next up was 35-49-year-olds. Any age can be a donor.

How To Register
You can follow the link above to find your state guidelines. Many DMVs offer the chance to become an organ donor when you update your license, or through their site. You can also register through the state department of health site through a paper form or an online area if your state provides it.