Do you have the organ donor box checked off on your driver’s license? According to organdonor.gov in 2013, 28,953 people received organ transplants. As I write this article there are currently 123,495 on the donor list in the United States. Each day 79 people receive organ transplants, while sadly 18 people die every day waiting for transplants.
This topic is important to me as I approach the twelfth anniversary of my dear sister in-law’s death. Joanne was killed by a drunk driver on December 29, 2002 on her way to work as a nurse. She left behind two small children, along with my brother. The person who killed her spent less than four years in prison.
Her death left a gaping hole in everyone’s hearts who knew her. She was loved and respected by many. Joanne was an organ donor. Her death benefited over 200 people, which I didn’t even know was possible until after she died.
Here are some facts from the organdonor.gov’s website regarding organ donation:
These facts may help you better understand organ, eye, and tissue donation:
Fact: Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. The transplant team will determine at an individual’s time of death whether donation is possible.
Fact: Most major religions in the United States support organ donation and consider donation as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the number one priority is to save your life.
Fact: When matching donor organs to recipients, the computerized matching system considers issues such as the severity of illness, blood type, time spent waiting, other important medical information, and geographic location. The recipient’s financial or celebrity status or race does not figure in.
Fact: An open casket funeral is usually possible for organ, eye, and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, respect, and dignity.
Fact: There is no cost to donors or their families for organ or tissue donation.
Fact: Every state provides access to a donor registry where its residents can indicate their donation decision.
Fact: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.
Fact: People can recover from comas, but not brain death. Coma and brain death are not the same. Brain death is final.
I had signed up to be an organ donor years before Joanne died, but I encourage everyone to sign up when they renew their driver’s license.
In 2010, (the most recent data) there were almost 2.5 million deaths in the U.S. Imagine if every one of those persons had donated.
Be a hero and sign up to be an organ donor today at http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/index.html