April has returned, and once we’re past the humor of April Fools’ Day pranks comes the realization that National Donate Life Month has returned. Regular readers probably know that organ donation is important to everyone here at the Town-Crier in honor of longtime friend, colleague and editor Jason Budjinski, who continues to battle primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and Crohn’s disease.
Jason is among the more than 123,000 people in need of organ donation at any given time, and the ready supply of donors is nowhere close to meeting the demand of patients who very well may die while waiting for their chance at new life. In fact, even while 79 people receive lifesaving organs each day, an estimated 21 people die each day waiting for an organ. So far, that has not been Jason’s story. He continues to battle the disease the same as he has since 1999. However, he continues to need a new liver through the organ donation system.
Organ donation is a difficult subject. It reminds people of the uncertainty of life and the inevitability of death. However, just one organ donor can save up to eight lives. And becoming an organ donor is easy. It’s a small box to check when obtaining or renewing your driver’s license.
The point of National Donate Life Month is visibility and awareness. The more people think about organ donation, the more they sign up to help. For example, in 2012, Facebook added the option to show people you’re an organ donor. It was reported that the day that Facebook enabled the organ donation option, the daily registration number for organ donators jumped from 616 to 13,012. Almost 60,000 people updated their profiles to show that they were organs donators. It was huge at the time, but now that awareness has dwindled.
Those affected still need help, so don’t let another National Donate Life Month pass by without signing up to save lives. Everyone has their own reasons for becoming an organ donor. If you’re looking for one, feel free to think of Jason. If you need another reason, check with your own family and friends. It is likely that someone you know could benefit has benefited directly from organ donation.
To learn more about organ donation, visit the United Network for Organ Sharing web site (www.unos.org), the Mayo Clinic’s web site (www.mayoclinic.com), the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ organ donation site (www.organdonor.gov) and Donate Life America (www.donatelife.net).
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. Don’t let another month go by. Sign up today!