A Gift of Life

Waited last month and the months before. Waiting today for hope tomorrow. Have you ever known someone who needs a transplant or is on the donor list? Did they receive their transplant? Most would say this is a time of uncertainty, stress and anxiety. The alternative of not receiving the organ is a short road to death.

The other side is the family dealing with a great tragedy. To lose a father, mother, sister, brother or child must be heart wrenching. The time would seem unreal, the pain of a loss. The change of life is different each situation. There is a way that many have lived on by becoming an organ donor. Recently Rod Carew, the Hall of Fame baseball player from the Minnesota Twins and California Angels, was interviewed after his heart transplant. In a touching news story he met the mother of the gentleman whose heart Mr. Carew received. The mother of the donor expressed the comfort of having her son’s heart beat in Mr. Carew’s chest. Rod Crew is alive today because of the transplant and unselfish gift the donor gave.

So, here’s some interesting information: according to organdonor.com 95% of US Adults support organ donation, but only 54% sign up. Part of this is probably due to the US having an “Opt-In” policy rather than an “Opt-Out like much of the rest of the world. Hopefully, part of the 40% will take the step of Opting-In this week.

As of August 2017 organdonor.com states 116,000+ men, women and children are on the waiting list. Every 10 minutes another person is added to the waiting list while 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant.

In 2016, 33,611 transplants were performed. One person can donate up to eight life saving organs. These organs include: heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestines.

One would think that most people could donate their organs, however only one in three people die in a way that allows for organ transplant. Therefore, the more people Opting –In, or signing up for organ donation; the better for those who are waiting. In addition, your family may feel the comfort of knowing that your heart is beating in another person’s chest; giving them life.

To become an organ donor: Make your wishes know to your family and close friends. You can register at the Department of Motor vehicles or online at https://organdonor.gov/register.html
Your registering may be a life saver to someone. Your tragedy may become someone else’s hope.

On a personal note, I have friends who have gotten their transplants and others who have died while on the transplant registry list. I believe I signed up to be a donor at the Driver’s License Bureau (motor vehicles) in the 1980s. Other than religious factors, I believe more of us should Opt-In and possibly be a life saver.

As always, feel free to contact our office if you would information on Issues of Aging such as Social Security, Medicare, the VA Aid & Attendance Pension or organ donation.

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