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Honoring Organ Donor Families: Find Out How You Can Donate Life

Honoring Organ Donor Families: Find Out How You Can Donate Life

Help will come too late for many of the 106,759 Americans awaiting donation on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network waiting list.

April is National Donate Life Month, honoring those individuals and their families who have elected to donate organs, tissue, blood, and marrow in an effort to save or enhance the lives of others, and to encourage more people to follow their example.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to those selfless individuals and their families who have, even in their own sorrow, acted to ease someone else’s suffering and save lives.

A little over five years ago, my family suffered the loss of one of our own at age 52. Her forethought in filling out an organ donation card resulted in either saving or improving the lives of eight strangers. Nothing can ever make up for the tragic loss of a loved one, but through her death came renewed hope for other families.

As of April 5, 2010, there were 106,759 people waiting for an organ for transplant, and approximately 35,000 children and adults in our country have life-threatening blood diseases that could be treated by a marrow/blood stem cell or cord blood transplant. There is an urgent need for donors in the United States and for certain minority and ethnic groups in particular.

If you are already a donor please take the next step and become a donation advocate — help spread the word by:

  • Telling family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Post on your blog, website, and online social networking sites.
  • Encouraging your workplace, associations, or other organizations to join the Workplace Partnership for Life.

Pondering our own mortality is not always easy or pleasant, but the fact is that we can help others even after we’ve gone. One organ or tissue donor can save many lives and registering is simple. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Almost everyone is eligible to register for organ and/or tissue donation, with few exclusions (HIV positive, active cancer, systemic infection). 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. Age is generally not a factor in registering, but people under the age of 18 will need parental approval.
  • Most states have donor registries or allow you to register when you renew your driver’s license.
  • Until you get around to making it official, you can simply download and fill out an organ donor card. Be sure to carry it with you and inform family members of your wishes to avoid confusion and delay at time of death.
  • All expenses related to organ donation are deferred to the recipient, so you will incur no charges by donating.

If you are considering becoming a donor, now is as good a time as any to take the next step and make it official. I’m an organ donor. Are you?

Organ Donor Information and Resources

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Photo: organdonor.gov

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55 comments

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6:17PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

how do I find out where my brothers organs went after his death?

2:30PM PDT on Sep 15, 2010

If anyone wants to become a donor just remember you may need a donor in your life.So please donate

11:21AM PDT on May 16, 2010

YES IT IS GOOD TO SAVE A PERSON'S LIFE AND I WOULD DEFINITELY DONATE IF I WAS GOING TO DIE AND MY ORGANS WERE OK.

11:09PM PDT on May 12, 2010

I've been an organ donor since I got my 1st drivers license. I really don't understand those who think the body needs to be intact for burial. If life is precious, it HAS to be more precisous than a whole body in death. Just my opinion.

7:24PM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

i've been on the organ donor list for years.

everyone, please sign and share:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/5/tell-obama-to-put-solar-panels-back-on-the-white-house

thanks so much

12:24PM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

read

7:30AM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

John, organ transplants aren't denied on the basis of 'morality'. But on the basis of which patient is likeliest to have the best chance of success with the transplant (and, of course, the severity of the medical need is a major factor). And a person who is known to use illegal drugs isn't considered as likely a candidate because, in the eyes of those in authority, use of marijuana is an abuse of the body and causes deliberate harm to it (I don't agree, but that is the theory.)

With available organs in such short supply, they have to be given to those whose outcome is likely to be best and who have shown a better chance of being able to care for their bodies after transplant.

7:22AM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

I WAS an organ donor for many years but have REMOVED MYSELF FROM THE DONOR LIST. THE OVER 600,000 PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR MARIJUANA EACH YEAR ARE DENIED TRANSPLANTS BASED ON THEIR MARIJUANA ARRESTS. IN PROTEST OF THAT POLICY I HAVE DENIED THE RESPONSIBLE PARTIES ACCESS TO MY ORGANS. APPARENTLY, LIFE IS DENIED TO THOSE DEEMED MORALLY UNDESERVING. IF CATHOLICS WERE DENIED TRANSPLANTS, BECAUSE SOME OF THEM HAVE MOLESTED CHILDREN, MORE OF YOU WILL UNDERSTAND MY POSITION.

I know this statement will inflame some. Those people should consider; it is immoral to use some tactics to punish those who simply disagree with with you. It is wrong (immoral) to deny lifesaving medical procedures, jobs, child custody, voting rights and equal rights to any one group based on "political" or "moral" grounds. There is no evidence that marijuana users, as a group, are inherently immoral.
Those who disagree are appointing themselves the moral judges of us all (God), I believe that is the domain of God. God will judge us all, not the "politically correct" politicians and psuedo-"Christians". They will be judged for taking that power into their own hands and misusing it.
I will not contribute to their "exclusive" longevity policy.

2:31PM PDT on Apr 12, 2010

Help save a life.

5:04AM PDT on Apr 12, 2010

One way to increase the number of donors would be to require that in order to be eligible to RECEIVE a transplant a patient would have had to have signed up as an organ DONOR at least three or more years prior to receiving the transplant (except for young people, of course, who would not have had time to legally choose to be donors for the required period.)

Seems fair to me. If you want the benefit of organ donation you should also be willing to be a donor yourself. And I'm quite certain that would cause many people to become donors since most of us would not want to run the risk of losing out on a transplant ourselves if we end up needing one.

And we need to change the way families are allowed to overrule the wishes of the donor. It's my own choice - not my family's.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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