Imagine a healthy, active, 48 year-old working man with a cold that just won’t go away. This common cold is a virus that creeps through his body, attacks his heart and destroys the muscle until it can only pump at 10% of its capacity. After just a few months, this man cannot climb a flight of stairs, cannot walk the family dog around the block, and cannot work. His only option for recovery is a heart transplant. And now, you are his only hope.
Anyone can sign up to be an organ donor, regardless of age, health, or religion. Yet, only 40% of Americans are registered donors. The gap between the number of organ donors and the number of people waiting for a transplant increases every day. 22 people die each day waiting for a transplant. These deaths could be prevented if more people were donors. As a donor, you could change the lives of up to 8 people by sharing your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and pancreas.
Thanks to the forward thinking and generosity of one person and his family, that once dying 48 year-old man – my father – is now 68. He loves cycling, helping neighbors with small home repairs, traveling with my mom, and cheering for me at triathlons.
One person. One heart. One box checked to be an organ donor – gave my family 20 more years. You can add over 160 years to your life by leaving your organs for another person in need.
Leave a legacy of life. Tell your friends and family about your intentions. Sign up to be an organ donor.
April 2012 marked National Organ Donor Month in the U.S. While there were many ceremonies for donor families, celebrations of life for recipients, and declarations made across states, the most notable activity was the announcement of Facebook’s feature to indicate you are an organ donor.
While the new “Health & Wellness” indicator on your Facebook timeline does not actually register you to become an organ donor, it is a public (or friends-only) pledge and acknowledgment of your intention to do so. Facebook does provide links to Donate Life, which in turn links you to your state registry.
The Facebook and Donate Life partnership certainly brings more attention to the need for an increase in organ donation. And, the initial feedback was overwhelming – post-announcement, several states saw registrations spike into the thousands for a day when they are typically in the hundreds. I couldn’t help but wonder, what comes next? (And, it seems I am not the only one wondering such things, living donation is yet to be addressed)
Signing up to become an organ donor is still a fragmented process. How you can sign up (online, by mail, in person) differs state by state. When you move states, you’ll need to re-register. When you renew your driver’s license, you may need to re-register too. And, you still need to make your intentions clear to your family. How are we going to streamline this process and make it easier? How can I indicate in one place that I want to be an organ donor and have this be legal consent and easily accessible information no matter where I am living or traveling?
I guess the real question is, how do we harness this building consent and awareness into ongoing momentum to save lives?
Organ Donor for Life is gearing up for a busy 2012! Below is a quick snapshot of some key dates and activities. We’ll be making some exciting announcements soon about our key races for the 2012 campaign – and how you can be a part of the Lifesaver Team!
January: National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
February 14: National Donor Day
April: National Donate Life Month
November: National Marrow Awareness Month