Friday, April 20, 2007

Organ Donation Awareness Month

As of today, at 6:07 pm, 96,186 people are listed with UNOS.

Of those almost 97,000 people:
102 are less than one year old
493 are 1 – 5 years old
1356 are 6 – 17 years old

Totaling those above numbers, 759 are waiting for a kidney; 719 for a liver; 241 for a heart; 149 for a lung; and 169 for an intestine. That doesn’t include those waiting for multiple organs.

One organ donor can save up to EIGHT lives. Think about it: one heart, two kidneys, one liver
(that can be used to save two people), one small intestine, and two lungs.

I know no one likes to think about becoming an organ donor. Believe me, not many have thought about it as deeply as I have. The idea of brain death is frightening. Terrible. Horrifying. It’s not something I ever want to have to think about with my loved ones. But it happens. Everyday, it happens.

What I’m wondering is, if your family is faced with that decision, will they make the choice that you want them to? In the end, it's not your decision, it's your families. If you make them aware of your wishes to be an organ donor, then perhaps their decision could be made more easily.

Deceased organ donation has saved the lives of many people I have come to know and love. Anthony couldn’t wait any longer for a deceased donor, and we were fortunate enough to have a living donor already “on hand”. I also know quite a few families who didn’t have the living donor option, and whose children couldn’t wait any longer, either. Every night they go to sleep without getting to kiss their baby goodnight. They wake up every morning without the world’s sweetest face to greet them.

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again since it goes along with my plea for you to sign an Organ Donor card:
Sitting in the hospital in Omaha with Anthony, I was despondent. Anthony was so sick, and it was late at night. I called my parents, needing support. Talking to my dad is always calming. He always has the right thing to say, right when you need to hear it. I asked him, “How am I supposed to pray for Anthony to get his liver in time if it means that I’m praying for another mother to lose her child?” His response to me was, “You’re not praying for another child to die. You’re praying that the mother faced with the death of her child has the courage to say ‘Yes’.”

I’m a registered organ donor. Are you?


amanda said...

Thanks for a great reminder. There are still so many myths out there about organ donation, even with people who WORK at a transplant center. I had a discussion with a friend a couple weeks ago about this and, while I think I made an impression, she wasn't quite willing to change her mind because of her husband's misconceptions. (I'll keep trying on that one!). I am so happy that Anthony got a second chance at life, that I have had the opportunity to meet him and your family, and that I have been able to use your dad's words of wisdom more than once. I'm going to try and run a 10K for the "Life-a-Thon" they are having here in a couple weeks for organ and tissue donor awareness. However, I've only been out running twice, slowly, for 20 minutes each time, so it may be a run/walk type thing! I love coming to your site and seeing how well Anthony is doing. Take care.

-Scott (Campaign Manager) said...

Great post. We're doing everything we can up here in Illinois as well with our Donate Life Illinois campaign to register 3.5 million people in the state's new organ/tissue donor registry. Thanks for helping spread the word on this critical lifesaving cause and great to read about Anthony.

Donate Life Illinois - Campaign Manager