April Is National Donate Life Month: Take Time To Sign Up

Each April, the federal government recognizes National Donate Life Month, reminding us all of the importance of organ donation. Every year, right around this time, the Town-Crier writes on this topic, encouraging readers to sign up for organ donation, yet each year the number of people on transplant lists grow by the thousands.

As medical technology continues to advance, the ability to save lives through transplantation has grown leaps and bounds, but the medical field still faces a critical challenge: finding compatible donors for those in need.

There is much misinformation and myth surrounding organ donation, which is a touchy subject to begin with. And it’s not easy to dispel myths when no one wants to talk about it. We understand. It’s not pleasant to think about your own death or the death of a loved one. But for more than 115,000 men, woman and children currently awaiting a transplant, the threat of death cannot be so easily ignored.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that 18 people die each day waiting for a transplant. Meanwhile, a new person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes.

Though many of us are lucky enough to be able to live without the threat of imminent death lingering over our heads, taking five minutes to sign up for organ donation could one day grant a long, healthy life to another. In some cases, you could save multiple lives. One person who chooses to donate their organs and tissue can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of many others.

Sure, these are just numbers — statistics. But remember, each statistic represents a person: a mother, father, child, friend or spouse who might die without a transplant.

One day, that could be your mother, father, child — or even you — in need of a transplant. That is why it is critical that you sign yourself up to be a donor. It’s a decision your family won’t want to, and shouldn’t have to make.

Registering is simple. You can simply check a box when you get your driver’s license renewed, or go online to www.donatelife.net/register-now and sign up.

And if you’re having any doubts, check out the UNOS web site (www.unos.org) to learn what a difference your donation can make. Other useful web sites include the Mayo Clinic’s (www.mayoclinic.com), the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ organ donation site (www.organdonor.gov) and Donate Life America (www.donatelife.net).