Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Heroes: Organ Donors

Now that you have learned in my last post about Dr. Joe Murray and his pioneering work in organ transplants, it's time for YOU to become a hero by being an organ donor. First, here are the facts about organ donation, courtesy of the website DonateLife.net:

"Learn the Facts
Despite continuing efforts
at public education, misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation persist. Learn these facts to help you better understand organ, eye and tissue donation:

  • Fact: Anyone can be a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history.
  • Fact: All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
  • Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ, eye and tissue donation can only be considered after you are deceased.
  • Fact: When you are on the waiting list for an organ, what really counts is the severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other important medical information, not your financial status or celebrity status.
  • Fact: An open casket funeral is 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 the donor or their family for organ or tissue donation.
  • Fact: Signing a donor card and a driver's license with an "organ donor" designation may not satisfy your state's requirements to become a donor. Be certain to take the necessary steps to be a donor and ensure that your family understands your wishes."
Second, you need to know the steps to take to become a organ donor and the website OrganDonor.gov has it all broken down for you, including a PDF download of a printable organ donor card AND a link to request one by mail. The steps are:

  1. Register with your state's donor registry (just follow this link to get started.)
  2. Make your decision known on your driver's license or ID.
  3. Sign and carry an organ donor card NOW (just follow this link to the PDF and donor card by mail request links.)
  4. Share your decision with family and friends so they can advocate on your behalf when the time comes.
Lastly, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) website, RIGHT NOW there are 101,945 people waiting for an organ transplant. From January to March 2009, 6,998 transplants have already taken place from 3,566 donors. These organ donors and their families are HEROES in my book.

Be a hero too. Be an organ donor!

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