Each day 19 people die because there are not enough transplantable human organs to fill the need. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) which coordinates all transplants in America maintains a list of people who need life-saving transplants. As of today, January 2, 2012 the numbers are:
Waiting list candidates 112,702
Transplants January – Sept. 2011 21,354
Donors January – Sept. 2011 10,558
Right now, as you read this a patient, maybe a child, is near death. She needs a heart but there won’t be one. As the electronic monitors beep and chirp, the family is devastated, inconsolable in the frustration over the lack of organ donors and the imminent death of their loved one. The best medical care in the world is at their fingertips but they are helpless without an organ donor. The patients vital signs are dropping more rapidly now, the Doctors aren’t holding out much hope.
Right now as you read this, another patient not too far away has already been declared brain dead as the result of an auto accident. He is surrounded by a grieving family. It is not known if the patient is or wanted to be an organ donor. The family is considering a request to donate his organs but the decision must be made soon and they don’t know what to do, their loved one never told them of his wishes. Through tears and indescribable grief they discuss, they argue and then decline. Both patients die.
Each year Americans bury or cremate more than 20,000 transplantable organs – 20.000. Surveys continually indicate that over 90 percent of Americans approve of organ donation but in one of the greatest mysteries ever, only 46 percent actually make the commitment to do so. This inaction, this procrastination is causing people to die, families to grieve and patients who are awaiting transplants to live their lives in absolute terror. People who are not organ donors are not evil, they are not bad, they just don’t understand that their lack of action causes terror among patients as great as that caused by the real terrorists of the world.
Most people who aren’t donors, “Just haven’t gotten around to it.” After all, there’s no rush for them. Organs are recovered after a person dies and most potential donors are in pretty good health. The problem is that the patients who need the organs are not in good health. Everyone who is on that UNOS list mentioned earlier, is dying. Without a transplant they will die. Period. End of story.
Well, let’s make the donation process really simple, so simple you can do it from home, your office, on your I-pad or Kindle in your doctor’s waiting room anywhere. You don’t even have to get up. Just go to www.donatelife.net and follow the instructions then tell your family what you have done. It only takes minutes. Then make very sure they clearly understand that you want to be an organ donor. “That means when I die I want the medical people to take as much of my tissue and as many of my organs as they need to help save or enhance the lives of others.” Those are my distinct wishes please respect them should the time come.
That’s the first step to saving lives by helping to increase the number of donors. The second step, just in case you like this cause and want to do more, is to spread the word to convince others to do the same. “So,” you say, “How do I do that, how do I spread the word?” Here are ten easy tips, I’m sure that if you think real hard you might be able to come up with ten more.
150 words is about a minute’s speaking time. Write out about 150 words on why organ donation is important to the donor…the donor and then post it everywhere you can think of on the internet.
Call your local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) and volunteer to speak on behalf of donation.
Buy the green “Donate life” wristband at www.donatelife.net and wear it every day. If someone admires it give it to them and ask them to wear it. What’s a few bucks to save some lives?
Ask your pastor to give a sermon on organ donation…offer to help gather the information for him/her.
Write a letter to the editor…actually send it to every editor you can think of.
When some radio talk show host least expects it…call about the importance of organ donation
Offer to speak to a local service club about donation/transplantation issues (Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions etc).
Add a short note about organ donation to the signature of every email you send “Did you know that one organ/tissue donor can save or positively affect up to 60 lives?”
Talk to a public school class about donation/transplantation
Start a blog…it’s really easy. Just Google “free blog sites” and go for it.
You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love. Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart.” Just go to www.organti.org and click on the title. This video was produced to py romote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for it’s use. You’ll also find other useful information on this web site about other donation/transplantation issues.
We would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers and the more clout we have the more likely it is that we’ll be able to increase not only organ donation but the many alternatives that science and technology people are working on.