What If I Told You That You Could Save Lives?
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What If I Told You That You Could Save Lives?

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What If I Told You That You Could Save Lives?

What if I told you that you could add years onto someone’s life? That you could be the silver lining on one of their darkest days? That you could be the difference between an unfinished and finished book? You could be the reason a father is able to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding?That you could give someone the opportunity to chase their dreams? What if I told you that you could save lives?

According to the American Transplant Foundation, there are over 123,000 people in the U.S who are in need of organ transplants to save their lives. Every 12 minutes, someone is added to that waiting list. Each day, an average of 21 of these people die because they are not able to get the organs they need. One single organ donor can save up to 8 of these lives and impact over 100 more through tissue donation. Millions of people die every year who are not signed up as donors. Just imagine the difference they could make.

Now, many people are skeptical about the process of organ donation and transplantation. University of Michigan’s transplant center addressed many of these concerns in an article. Some people think that those with lots of money or who are famous get bumped to the front of those waiting for organs. However, the things that are put into consideration in actuality are factors like blood type, the severity of the patient’s illness and how long they have been waiting. Another misconception is that people with a history of medical illness cannot donate. This is not always true and varies case to case. Medical and social histories of each patient are reviewed to determine whether or not they are suitable. In the past, diseases like hepatitis or diabetes prevented someone from donating, but now they do not. Some people even think their age matters, but there are no age limits. Newborns and the elderly alike have organs and tissues that could save someone's life. Many are concerned that if they are registered as an organ donor, doctors could not work as hard to save their life however the doctors who work on you are not the same as the team who focuses on organ donation and transplantation. These people are not even notified that you are a donor until after you have passed and there was nothing else that could be done. You can also specify which organs you would like to be donated and your request will be honored. People assume that their bodies are mutilated or treated terribly, but organ removal is a routine operation. The appearance of the body is not adversely affected, and normal funeral arrangements are still possible.

So, here’s how it all takes place. First, you enroll as an organ donor. This is a simple and easy task that is most often done when receiving or renewing a driver’s license. In many places, it can also be done online if your state has an Internet registry. You can also notify your family, so when you pass they can support your decision if needed. When the time comes for your organs to be used, everything in the doctor’s power will be done to save your life, as any other patient. If you are pronounced brain dead, the hospital will notify their local organ procurement organization. They notify OPO of every patient who has passed or will more than likely pass away soon. The OPO then checks the state’s donor registry to see if any of these people is registered organ donors. If they are not, consent can also be giving by your next of kin. Then your organs are matched with recipients on a computer by a variety of factors such as blood, organ, and tissue type. The person highest on the list who is the best match for your organs will receive them.

Deciding to become an organ donor is a major decision. There are many stories of courageous people who put any concerns aside to donate, and also those of the people who received them and were blessed with a second chance at life. Amelia, a strong-willed and hard-working girl worked through a disease for many years before finally going to the hospital. She woke up one morning with unbearable stomach pain and yellow skin; she could not ignore the pain she was in any longer. She and her family learned that she had cirrhosis, a chronic liver disease, and would go on the transplant waiting list. Amelia was shocked; she thought you could only get this disease from excessive drinking, which she never did. What she was really concerned with, though, was whether or not she could still go to college the following week. The doctors doubted her ability to handle college with her illness, but she went to school and completed her first semester, and then continued a full-time course load for her second semester and the summer. She did not know if she was going to still be alive to graduate, but she was going to work towards it. Amelia worked tirelessly to promote organ and tissue donation on two campuses. Amelia thought that the wait would only be a few months, but oh was she wrong. 4½ years later, Amelia received a call that there was finally a liver available for her. It was a miracle that she was still alive to receive such a gift. She says that the hardest part of the whole process was the waiting because many other things in your body could go wrong along the way. Amelia believes that “the real heroes are the donor families. I look at it this way: there could have been two tragedies but my donor family turned their tragedy into a blessing. I’m forever grateful.” Her donor’s mother now keeps a photo of Amelia next to her son in her home.

So, let me ask you a question. If you had an extra sandwich at lunch and were planning to throw it away, would you be willing to instead give it to your classmate or coworker who had no food? Just what good would the sandwich do in the garbage when it could have been used to help someone in need? The best gift you could give to someone is the gift of life. There are so many people in need of organ and tissue donations, and we can all help. We can cut down waiting lists so people like Amelia aren't waiting years before it is their turn to receive an available organ that matches their needs. What better way to leave this earth than giving someone else a second chance? To that person, their family, and friends, and to anyone they touch in their life, you would be a hero forever. Everyone wants to make a difference in this world. Do something you know will have a lasting impact, and be the greatest person someone might never know, but will always cherish.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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