Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How To Save A Life

“Don't take your organs to heaven with you.  Heaven knows we need them here.”  Author unknown, attributed to both Dan and Barbara Hladio and Thomas Boyadjis, Sr.

One of the most beneficial and selfless things a person can do is help save a life, and since not everyone is able to become a medical doctor working in a hospital setting, donating blood, tissue and organs can easily help.

The entire month of April is recognized as “National Donate Life Month.”  It was first instituted in 2003 by Donate Life America, in the hopes of raising awareness concerning organ donation and encouraging Americans to become donors.

Donate Life America is a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States dedicated to increasing organ, tissue and eye donation.  The organization administers and sponsors the national brand for donation, “Donate Life,” and lends a hand to Donate Life State Teams and national partners in facilitating high-performing donor registries and motivating the American public to register now as organ, eye and tissue donors.

Donate Life America explains the need for continued education, because although “Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine… the need for organs and tissue is vastly greater than the number available for transplantation.” The United Network of Organ Sharing clarifies that donations may be limited due to myths about the process.

Despite continuing efforts with trying to educate the public, misconceptions and inaccuracies about donation persist.

“Some people think that if I have a pink dot on my driver’s license that they won’t think that will work as hard on me, and that’s not true,” said Donate Life California spokesperson, Elena de la Cruz.

These common myths hurt the people on the waiting list for organs, eyes and tissue. The trends according to United Network for Organ Sharing show that there are simply just not enough people willing to donate and save other people.

“California has the longest waiting list in the nation,” said de la Cruz. “We have about 20,000 people on the list out of the around 110,000 in the nation.”

Volunteering is also another way people can pitch in and do their part. If you’re interested in volunteering year round, you can contact Erika Ospina Awad, who coordinates the Ambassadors of Donate Life California program, at eospinaawad@onelegacy.org.

Donate Life America asks for everyone to either register online or in person at the DMV to avoid the statistic of an average of 18 people dying each day from the lack of available organs for transplant. 90 percent of Americans say they support donation, but only 30 percent know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

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