Being an Organ Donor
By Christina Bush, CES, CAS, CMFC
This article is not about building financial wealth, but rather its about leaving your legacy in a different way...through the gift of life.
Several years ago my father suddenly had chronic kidney failure and this is when I learned about organ donations and about how a tremendous amount of people can be helped by just one donor. I saw his independence get taken away by dialysis and now I've seen him have it returned through an organ donation. Through this experience I am now passionate about raising awareness of the fact that one person can save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of up to 150 people.
Currently over 86 million names wait on static and slow moving lists around the country as new people are added every 11 minutes, according to The U.S. Department of Health and Human services. Each day an average of 20 people die while waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the disappointing shortage of organs in this country. Tens of thousands of people are now on waiting lists to receive kidneys alone.
Regardless of age or medical condition, anyone can sign up as an organ donor. There is no cost to donors or their families for organ and tissue donations and the body is treated with dignity, respect and care through the entire process. You may specify if you wish to donate all of your organs or just certain ones. The most common organ and tissue transplants are: kidney, liver, heart, lung, cornea, bone and bone marrow, skin, pancreas, tendon, ligament and connective tissues.
Tissue and corneas can be taken from almost anyone, however there are often problems with donating major organs such as hearts, livers or kidneys. Most major religions in the world support organ and tissue donation and consider donations to be final acts of love and generosity towards others.
Organ, tissue, body or medical research donations must be carried out immediately after death, so you should make arrangements in advance and discuss your wishes with those closest to you if you wish to be a donor. It is wise to create an Advanced Medical Directive naming someone to carry out your wishes. Many people find this topic scary because it is associated with death. But, donations can truly bring about something positive during a heart-wrenching time and they help to bring life full circle. You don't have to lose your life...you can give it to someone else.
Sign up now as an organ donor by visiting the National Organ Donor Registry at: www.organdonor.gov
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