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    Transforming healthcare

    Gift of life: The importance of becoming an organ donor today

    April is national Donate Life Month, so there’s no better time to sign up as a donor.

    Organ donation saves lives

    Take a moment to pull your ID or driver's license from your wallet. Are you listed as an organ donor? It might be a red heart, written out, or a different signifier depending on your state. It’s often a checkbox you select at the DMV, and something you might forget about, but it can be a life or death difference for one of the 103,223 lives on the national transplant waiting list.

    If you don’t see a donor designation, Richard Gilroy, MD, a transplant hepatology specialist at Intermountain Health’s Transplant Clinic, shared the importance of becoming one.

    “We add more people to the list than we have transplants because of one missing thing: donors,” said Dr. Gilroy. “It’s a supply/demand mismatch.”

    Current organ donation need

    Right now, there are many people waiting for organ transplants. According to OrganDonor.Gov, someone is added to the transplant list every 8 minutes, each representing a person longing for a healthier life. This reality emphasizes the importance of organ donation awareness.

    Organs such as hearts, kidneys, livers, and lungs are in high demand, and 17 people die everyday waiting for one of these transplants. And while over 170 million people are registered donors, only 3 in 1,000 die in a way that allows for deceased organ donation. Healthcare professionals, like Dr. Gilroy, see the toll of this glaring disparity.

    “The bottom line is many people die without a chance, and we can save each other,” said Dr. Gilroy.

    Importance of organ donation

    When you donate an organ, you give someone a second chance at life. But it's not just about saving one person. Organ donation can help lots of people and their families. In fact, every donor can save up to 8 lives, and enhance over 75 more. It's a ripple effect of kindness that spreads community healing.

    Save a life through living organ donation

    It’s important to note you don’t have to die to become an active organ donor. If you're in good health, you can donate certain organs, like a kidney or a part of your liver, while you're still alive. This type of donation can have a huge impact on someone's life, often allowing them to avoid years of waiting for a transplant.

    But here's the thing: people can't receive organs if they don't know you want to donate. That's why it's essential to have conversations with your loved ones about your organ donation preferences.

    “In our center we’ve identified all these people who could potentially be donors, like people with brain death or irreversible injuries, but they never had that critical opportunity to discuss organ donation with their family,” said Dr. Gilroy.

    By talking openly about it, you can ensure that your wishes are known and respected.

    How to become an organ donor

    You’ve read the facts, and you’re ready to become a donor. Signing up as an organ donor is easier than you might think, and there’s a few ways to do it.

    Registered deceased organ donation:

    • Online - One of the simplest ways to become an organ donor is by registering online through your state's organ donor registry or a national registry like Donate Life America. These websites make it easy to sign up and specify which organs and tissues you'd like to donate. All you need is some basic personal information, and you're good to go.
    • License/ID renewal - When you renew your driver's license or state ID card, you'll often have the option to become an organ donor. Just check the box indicating your interest in organ donation, and your decision will be recorded in the state registry. It's a convenient way to become a donor while taking care of other paperwork.

    Living organ donation:

    • If you're interested in becoming a living donor, the process is a bit different. Living donation typically involves donating a kidney, part of your liver, or other tissues while you're still alive. You'll need to undergo a thorough medical evaluation to ensure you're healthy enough to donate, and that the procedure is safe for both you and the recipient. Your healthcare provider can guide this process and provide information on reputable transplant centers.

    April is national Donate Life Month, so there’s no better time to sign up as a donor. By making this choice, and having conversations with your loved ones about your wishes, you can make a real difference in the world. So why wait? Become an organ donor today


    Gift of life: The importance of becoming an organ donor today