Valentine’s Day Gift of Life

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate love and romance. It is not usually a day when we want to ponder our own mortality, but it also happens to be National Organ Donor Day.

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.

The need is great: As of February 1, 2010, there were 105,525 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.

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.

In addition to organ donation, there is a need for bone marrow and cord blood donation and transplantation. Each year more than 10,000 children and adults with life-threatening diseases need a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor. A bone marrow transplant (also called a BMT) or cord blood transplant replaces a patient’s diseased blood-forming cells with healthy cells.

The umbilical cord and placenta are rich with blood-forming cells. These cells can be used to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma or certain inherited metabolic or immune system disorders.

Because a close match in tissue type is necessary, donors of certain races and ethnicities are greatly needed, specifically, Black or African-American, Native Americans, Native Alaskans, Asians, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino.

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. All expenses related to organ donation are deferred to the recipient, so you will incur no charges by donating.

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.

Now is as good a time as any to consider becoming a donor. And as long as you’re thinking about giving the gift of life, why not make it official? I’m an organ donor. Are you?

For more information on organ donation: OrganDonor.gov

Download Organ Donor Cards

State Donor Registries

National Donor Day was started in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers partners with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and many nonprofit health organizations.

Photo: OrganDonor.gov


35 comments

Michael Cozens
Michael Cozens6 years ago

I would like to see an "opt-out" system for both bone marrow and organ donation, where people are automatically entered into the system on becoming eligible unless they request not to be.

Val Leishman
Val Leishman6 years ago

thanks for that quick reminder- easy to do and saves familily's agony when a loved one is hurt- trying to decide what their loved one would have wanted...

Debbie P.
Debbie P.6 years ago

Thank you for writing this article! I am a liver transplant recipient. My life was saved by a 13-year-old boy; who now is an angel inside of me, guiding me to help as many patients as I possibly can. I am eternally grateful for this second chance at life. ~ Deb

Sakura l.
Yu L6 years ago

sorry for the mistake, it should be: thanx for everyone who saves a life with potential organ donors

Beverly C.
Beverly C6 years ago

When I leave this world, I am no longer using my organs, etc.. Tthere is no question as to whether I want others to use any part of my body which they need. I have also donated my body to science (Emory University Medical School), so that hopefully something can be learned from studying my body which will help others.

Ana O.
Ana O6 years ago

I'm in debt with the wonderful people who donated blood for my daughter almost 3 years ago... She's a living proof of the importance of organ and/or tissue donation! God Bless you!

Sa R.
Sa R6 years ago

In Israel, an Organ/Tissue Donor Form is attached to every driver's license renewal.
When approved by filling in the details, the card is then sent to the driver.

Connor H.
Past Member 6 years ago

thanks for posting!

Sakura l.
Yu L6 years ago

thanx for everyone who saves a life qith potential organ donors

Shirley H.
Shirley H6 years ago

I have been an Organ Donor for well over 20 years. When I have left this earth, I can't think of anything that would please me more than to save a life or make someone's life whole & healthy again.
Shirley H.