SEBRING — April is National Donate Life month and this year’s theme is “life is a beautiful ride.” The purpose of the designation is to bring awareness for the need of organ donation and to celebrate those who have received their organ transplants.
Spring is the perfect time to gift the gift of life. Renewal and birth are reminders of what donating an organ to someone who may not live to see another Spring can bring. When a person receives a transplant they are renewed and brought back to health because of someone else’s gift.
In 2018 Donate Life America shows 36,500 people were “brought renewed life” from 10,700 deceased donors and 6,800 living donors.
That saved 36,500 people sounds like a lot until you find out there are some 114,000 people waiting for an organ to save their lives; 60% of those are minorities. About 22 people die every day because of the lack of organs.
Bicycles are a nod to “life is a beautiful ride” theme. The reference is that bikes come in different shapes and colors but all have the same basic components that make them “go.”
The same is true with transplantation. It does not matter what race, religion, age or size a person is, they can donate organs to help other people.
Just about everything in a human can be used in organ donation. Of course major organs such as liver, lungs, heart can all be transplanted.
However, there are parts that are less known about such as pancreas, small intestine and thymus. Kidneys and partial liver donations can be done while the donor is alive.
Tissue and eye donations can save lives and improve lives. Tissues that can be used are tendons, valves, corneas and more.
According to the Donate Life organization, one person can save eight lives, restore sight for two people and heal the lives of 75 people through donations. Highlands County Deputy Sheriff William J. Gentry Jr. saved six people after he was shot on duty on May 7, 2018.
Registering to become a donor can be done when you update your driver’s license or by going to registerme.org. According to Donate Life 95% of people said they agree with organ transplanting but only 58% of them were registered. Registering is not enough. Tell friends and family about your wishes.
There is no cost to the donor, family or estate to donate organs. Funerals and wakes are not effected by transplants and open caskets are possible. One reason people hesitate to donate is because they assume their religion does not condone it.
On the contrary, all of the world’s major religions support donation including those with beliefs about medical intervention and desecrating the body after death such as in an autopsy.