Giving Life

I am writing this much later than I intended but I wanted to write about a topic that holds incredible value and is something that is so very important to me.  It can be a topic that people hold strong feelings towards and may become quite sensitive about but I strongly believe that people need to become more aware of it.  April is the National Donate Life month for organ donation therefore I will be revisiting this topic a few more times this month. Organ donation is a need that is strong and will continue to be strong until people begin to learn the facts behind becoming an organ donor and understand the profound affect they could one day have on one’s life.  Currently there are more than 123,000 people in the United States on the waiting list that are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.  Names are added to that list every twelve minutes. On average, 21 deaths occur a day due to the lack of available organ donors. These statistics make me incredibly sad. I think about my family and those I love. What if it the unthinkable happened to them? What if they needed an organ that would save their life and there was none to be found? I would be so angry to know that their life could have been saved by someone who had passed but had not made the decision to become an organ donor. Someone deceased could potentially save up to eight lives and help up to fifty other lives. Organs that can be donated after death are the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and small intestines. Tissues include corneas, skin, veins, heart valves, tendons, ligaments and bones. How wonderful and far we have come in the medical world to be able to save lives this way. And what a beautiful last gift someone could give another. There are many things that need to be understood when it comes to organ donation.

If people would just take the time and understand what it actually means and the positive effect it could have on someone else’s life, they may actually change how they feel about this topic. Too many people buy into the several myths of organ donation and do not want to take the time to educate themselves on what being an organ donor is or what it means. I am going to show what a few of the myths are and the facts that disprove them in hopes that people will take the time to learn. Hopefully this will help to open people’s eyes and give them an awareness they had not had before.  One myth in particular is a major one that keeps people from making the life changing decision. This myth is that the hospital will not work as hard to save your life if you are an organ donor. The actual fact is that the doctors at the hospital are concentrating on saving your life only. The doctor that is overseeing your care is one who specializes in the problem or emergency you are having. He or she has nothing to do with organ transplantation. The transplant team is a completely separate team. Another myth that makes people nervous is that they won’t really be dead whenever the death certificate is signed. However, the fact is, the people who are organ donors are given more tests to conclude that they are actually dead than are those who are not organ donors. Other myths include organ donation being against the person’s religion, it will cost the family more money, and that the rich and famous are put at the top of the list. The facts show that organ donation is consistent with several religions including Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism. If not certain, check with your clergy or go online to http://www.organdonor.gov which provides further information on religions and their views of organ donation. It will not cost the donating family more money to donate their loved one’s organs. Those costs are covered by the family receiving the donation and the only costs the donating family is responsible for are the costs associated with the effort in trying to save the donor’s life. The rich and famous are not put at the top of the list. They are actually given an internal assessment to ensure they had not been given priority over others. Please take the time to visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/organ-donation/art-20047529 if you have heard about any more myths that I have not mentioned. The facts behind them are there for you to see.  Knowing the facts and choosing to become an organ donor is a choice that would be one of the most selfless choices one could make due to the impact it could have on one or more persons. Life is beautiful and full of happiness and sorrows. It is full of tough choices. Decisions have to be made that are not always easy. But the choice of becoming an organ donor should be simple choice. Do you, if the unthinkable did occur, want to help someone else live a long and full life? Would you want the same chance given to you?  I am going to be sharing stories of those who have been affected by organ donation and stories of donors themselves over the next few weeks.  They are beautiful stories that need to be shared.  I cannot fully express my passion over organ donation. I wish there was more I could do to make more people more aware. I wish I would convince the world this is the right choice to make.  For now I must be satisfied by this.  Even if just a few people take the time to read this, I am letting my voice be heard.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts. I would love to hear others’ views or perspectives on this topic.

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