National Donate Life Month

You may have seen the slogan on a bumper sticker or a poster stating “Don’t Take Your Organs to Heaven, Heaven Knows We Need Them Here”.  Every day, 22 people die because they are unable to receive a life-saving transplant in time.  Every day, over 2,000 children and 100,000 adults continue to wait for the life-saving transplant they require.  And every 10 minutes, another child or adult is added to that ever-growing list.   April is National Donate Life Month and there is no greater time to be the heroine that someone needs and to commit to registering as an organ donor at RegisterMe.Org.

One donor can save up to 8 lives, restore vision to 2 people and heal more than 75 through organ and tissue donation.  However, you are allowed to dictate which organs and tissue that you wish to donate.  You are still able to have an open casket funeral and your family does not incur the costs associated with organ donation.  Every major religion approves of organ donation.

As a former Emergency Department nurse, I am unfortunately all too familiar with the pain and suffering that families and patients go through while waiting on a transplant match.  I am also familiar with some of the myths surrounding organ donation – the most common being that if a patient was an organ donor, we would not work as hard to save them.  I can personally attest to the fact that we have no idea whether or not our patients are organ donors unless one of their family members tells us of their donor status to ensure that their loved one’s wishes were met.  It is so important to tell your friends and family that you are a donor so that this selfless gift can be honored in times of crisis.

Here in Philadelphia, we are fortunate enough to benefit from the professionalism and experience of the Gift of Life Donor Program. Time is of the essence in those fraught moments where difficult decisions need to be made but I have personally witnessed the compassion with which Gift of Life transplant coordinators have guided and empowered family members respecting the final wishes of their loved ones.

Organ Donation is a way to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy.  It is a beautiful thing to know that your gift will provide another person the gift of health.  It is a comfort to those left behind to know that a part of their loved one is still living through another.  And it is an excellent time to register today so that you can be the heroine someone in the future will need.  In honor of National Donate Life Month, visit RegisterMe.Org to register as an Organ Donor or visit donors1.org for more information from the Gift of Life Donor Program.

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