Give a heart this Donor DayBy Shayna Brouker • Published: February 13th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Department stores and candy shops are abuzz this first half of February as that most loved and dreaded holiday quickly approaches. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and couples, friends and family alike will exchange gifts like flowers, mushy cards and boxes of chocolate. But why not give something that will last longer than a bouquet? How about giving someone the gift of life? February fourteenth also happens to be National Donor Day. More than 100,000 people are in need of organs and 18 die every day. Just one donor can save eight lives.
To clear up some misunderstandings, you don’t have to be in the prime of your life or the picture of perfect health to donate an organ. The transplant team determines at time of death whether donation of certain organs is possible. It costs nothing to you or the recipient, and your donation goes to the patient with the best chance of surviving.
Another myth that must be demystified is the idea that doctors will not work as hard to save the life of an organ donor. In fact, the doctor focuses on saving your life, not someone else’s. And as for your spiritual beliefs, most religions support donation or leave it up to the person to decide.
Donors can even choose which organs to give and also what they will be used for, whether for transplant, education or medical research. Organs for donation include the heart, liver, pancreas, lungs, kidneys and intestines. You can also donate tissues like corneas, skin, heart valves, bone, blood vessels and connective tissues, such as tendons.
So what are you waiting for? It’s as simple as signing up. Just register online with your state through organdonor.gov, designate your decision on your driver’s license and be sure to tell you family, close friends and doctor. Give a heart this Donor Day and save a life.