It can be unpleasant to ponder our own mortality, but let’s do so for a moment. None of us wants to hasten the process, but let’s face it — we’re all going to die. However, there is something we can do right now to help others after we’ve gone. We can offer the precious gift of life through organ donation.
April is National Donate Life Month, set aside to honor those individuals and their families who have elected to donate organ, tissue, and marrow in an effort to save and enhance the lives of others.
These selfless families have, in their time of great sorrow and loss, looked beyond their own circumstances to ease someone else’s suffering and pain.
According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2008, more than 14,198 people were organ donors. Thanks to them, and thousands of others before them, more than 200,000 people in the United States are alive today. More than 101,000 people are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Thousands more need tissue and corneal transplants each year, and about 30,000 people a year are diagnosed with blood diseases that may be cured by a marrow/blood stem cell transplant.
It’s not a complicated process to become a donor. Most states have donor registries or allow you to register through renewal of your driver’s license. Informing family members of your decision will avoid confusion and delay at time of death.
Even if you’ve got a medical condition you can still register to be a donor — medical suitability is determined at the time of death. All expenses related to organ donation are deferred to the recipient, so you will incur no charges by donating.
Now is as good a time as any to consider becoming a donor. And as long as you’re thinking about it, why not make it official? I’m an organ donor. Are you?
For more information on organ donation or National Donate Life Month visit OrganDonor.gov
Locate your State Donor Registry
Order a Free Donor Card