April Is National Donate Life Month: Have You Signed Up?

April is National Donate Life Month, and that is a time that is near and dear to our hearts here at the Town-Crier. Every April, we are reminded of the importance of organ donation. With an ever-growing transplant list, now it is more important than ever to register to be an organ donor.

While many of us can go about our lives without the threat of death, that is not the case for the more than 120,000 people awaiting organ transplants, including a member of the Town-Crier family.

That list includes men, women and children who will likely not survive without a new bodily organ, let alone thousands more in need of tissue or a cornea so they can lead a normal life.

One of our family members, longtime Town-Crier writer and editor Jason Budjinski, continues to fight his battle as he awaits a healthy liver and a new lease on life. Diagnosed in 1999 with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), his liver has been compromised. Also battling Crohn’s disease, precancerous cells were discovered in his colon, and last summer he had his colon removed so he could remain on the transplant list.

Today, Jason is still in the recovery phase from his colectomy, gaining his strength and battling other health issues that have cropped up before he can undergo a liver transplant. When that time comes, we want there to be a liver waiting for him.

Although it’s not pleasant to ponder your own death or the death of a loved one, the ever-present risk is very real for hundreds of thousands of people across our nation. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that 18 people will die every day waiting for an organ on the transplant list, while thousands of people die without choosing to donate their organs.

Don’t let irrational fears stop you from helping others in need. Just one person choosing to give the gift of life can save up to eight people — eight people who will be able to live their lives and fulfill their dreams. Taking five minutes to sign up for organ donation could change someone’s life.

Registration is simple. If you’re renewing your driver’s license any time soon, all you have to do is check a box volunteering to become an organ donor. If not, you can go online to http://donatelife.net/register-now/ and sign up.

For more information, visit the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) web site (www.unos.org) to learn what a difference your donation can make. Other useful web sites to study the issue 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 (donatelife.net).

Don’t let another month go by. Sign up today!