Saving many lives sometimes takes just one miracle. For those awaiting organ transplants, that miracle starts with hope. Organ and tissue donation inspires hope for a second chance at life for thousands each year. One organ donor can save up to eight lives; one tissue donation can improve up to 50 lives.
The need for organ donors is growing. Over 123,000 people are now awaiting organ transplants in the US alone. Every 10 minutes another is added to that list.
February 14th is National Donor Day and focuses on organs, tissue, marrow, platelets and blood. Many people and religions consider organ donation the ultimate gift of love and compassion.
What is Organ Donation?
Organ donation after death may include the eyes, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas or intestinal organs. Tissue donation is possible from bone, skin, heart valves and tendons. A living donor can give a kidney or a portion of their liver, lung, intestine or pancreas.
Last year organ donors made over 28,000 transplants possible. Another one million people received cornea and tissue transplants that enabled their recovery from trauma, bone damage, spinal injuries, burns, hearing impairment and vision loss.
For recipients, a transplant means life or improved quality of life. It may mean the gift of vision or hearing, or independence from costly treatments to survive and a return to a normal, pain-free lifestyle. Grieving families of deceased donors are often comforted that their loss will help save or improve another’s life. Most major religions endorse organ donation as the highest gesture of humanitarianism.
Who Can Donate?
Anyone of any age or medical condition can be a potential organ donor. Successful donors range from newborns to senior citizens. Organ condition is most important. Those with illnesses may still become donors. Doctors determine whether organs are viable for donation at the appropriate time. Donors under 18 may need permission from a parent or guardian to donate.
Read the full article on become an organ donor here.