In 2003, Donate Life America and its partnering organizations established April as National Donate Life Month. Every year, this month is used to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. National Donate Life Month also recognizes and celebrates all the lives saved through organ donation.
Donate Life America’s mission is “To drive individuals, organizations and communities to increase the number of designated organ, eye and tissue donors who save and heal lives.” Their vision is to create a nation that embraces the idea of organ donation as a fundamental human responsibility.
In the state of Indiana, Donate Life Indiana has been established since 1998 and is the state affiliate for Donate Life America. Donate Life Indiana has worked for almost 20 years to increase donor designations in the state, by promoting the Indiana Donor Registry, working with state legislators to keep legislation regarding donation current and up to national standards, as well as hosting local events to promote the Indiana Donor Registry.
The Benefits of Organ Donation
Practically anyone can be an organ donor. When you go to renew your license, the employees at the DMV will ask you if you’d like to be a donor. If you agree, you’ll see a small red heart on your license. There is no age, race, body type or medical history requirements for organ donation. At the time of death, a transplant physician can determine if the organs are suitable for donation.
You can be a living donor for organs like a kidney or part of your pancreas, liver or lungs, but only people who have passed away from brain death can be organ donors in that situation. This is because the cardiac and respiratory systems in the body can be sustained by machines and make donation possible, unlike when someone has died from another circumstance. When a donor becomes available, the donor’s body, tissue type, weight and size will be matched to the list of recipients on the transplant waiting list.
Currently, over 105,000 people in the United States are on the transplant waiting list and around 4,000 more people are added to this list every day. Organ donors are constantly in short supply, and each year around 6,500 people die while waiting for a transplant. It’s a sad fact that there are far more people in need of organ donations than there are willing donors.
By becoming an organ donor, you can help save the life of someone on the national transplant waiting list. Once you have passed, you no longer need your organs. There are no risks to becoming an organ donor; you’ll still receive the same quality of care at the hospital. Organ donation is only considered after all efforts to save your life have been exhausted. Your information will be kept private from the recipient’s family unless consent by your own family is given to release it.
Make sure you discuss your wishes with your family so they can ensure they are carried out properly. Give the ultimate gift of life to someone who so desperately needs it.
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