Organ Donors Are Heroes, Are You?


  (Bob Aronson, the author of this blog, received a new heart on August 21, 2007)

April is National Donate Life Month in the U.S.  It is a time for us to not only become donors but to also encourage others to do the same.  The 18 people who die every day while waiting for an organ is a national disgrace.

Brotherly love is a concept repeated often not only in the old and new testament http://www.eliyah.com/brother.html but in every other religion as well.  How does the concept apply to your life, do you pay lip service to it, or do you live it?

If you were dying from organ failure would you accept a new organ from a total stranger?  If you answered, “Yes,” then it seems logical that a total stranger would accept an organ from you. 

The greatest ethical code ever written consists of just ten words, “Do unto others what you would have done unto you.”  A variation of these words exists in almost every religion http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm .  With that in mind, how can anyone possibly choose not to be an organ donor?  It is the neighborly thing to do, it is the right thing to do and, it is the ethical thing to do. 

Polls show that over 90% of us are in favor of organ donation but only about 35% actually become donors.  By not “Getting around to it” you have checked the “No” box on the registration form.  In light of “Brotherly love,” and, “The Golden Rule,” is “NO” really your preference?  Do you really want to take your organs and tissue to the grave while thousands of people die waiting for them?

Organ donors are among the real heroes of our society. They have made a conscious decision to help others live.  Living donors make a tangible sacrifice; they give up a part or parts of their bodies and undergo many inconveniences and some expense to do so.  Donor families often make their decision in the presence of a dying loved one. 

All too often people who are not registered organ donors die and their families must make the donation decision under great emotional stress.  Among these families are parents who agree to share their loved one in order to save lives.  Sometime the loved one is a child.  I cannot even begin to empathize with the rush of emotion they must feel.  Saying, “No” would be the easy thing to say. 

I have a Facebook page called, Organ Transplant Initiative a site with thousands of members who share their thoughts, emotions and opinions with the rest of us.  Following are some comments (edited for brevity) from people who willingly gave permission to recover life-giving organs.

  •  My daughter (December 16, 1983 to December 10 2006 was an organ an tissue donor she saved lives.  I know you are in heaven, you are my angel.  Rest in peace.  Love an miss you sweetie every day.  Please be an organ donor. 
  • We make a great family don’t we.  My daughter 29th Oct 1983 -6th Sept 2004, saved 4 lives here in Australia.  
  • She is in heaven…She’s in the same place as my husband, he too was an Organ Donor saving 4 people here in Illinois. 
  • I am also the mother of an organ donor…my son, Patrick saved 7 lives and made a difference in 3 others.
  • My daughter was also an organ donor. By giving, our daughter made a difference in someone’s life. 
  • I… donated a kidney to my friend 6 weeks ago and it was the absolute most life-changing experience of my life. It was amazing! The Lord is the One who set the whole plan in motion and ordered every step throughout the evaluation process and surgery. God bless you.

 And — there are grateful organ recipients, too.

  •  Thank you for your wonderful gift of life.  If it wasn’t for generous people like you…I wouldn’t be here today:) I am a liver transplant recipient and waiting for a kidney. Love & God Bless 
  • I am very, very sorry for the loss of your daughter. It is so scary for me to even think about. THANKS SO MUCH for making the decision to donate all of her organs. She’s definitely an angel living on in many. My aunt is waiting on a lung transplant…which, of course, is bittersweet. Bless you and your family! 
  • My daughter was killed in a car accident 17 years ago at the age of 14. She was an organ and tissue donor, too. We can help others to understand the importance of making the decision to become an organ and tissue donor.  
  • You are my hero for donating her organs.  My husband and I are waiting for our hero. My husband has been… on the liver transplant list for 3 years now. Words will never be enough for what you have done. May God bless you and your family. Love and prayers. 
  • May god continue to bless your family. My brother received the gift of a kidney many years ago. We never knew the circumstances as to how we received it but we give many thanks to the family out there who made the conscious decision to donate. Thank You.

Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org.  And – spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors.  On-line registration can be done at http://www.donatelife.net  Whenever you can, help people formally register.  There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance.  If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 50 lives.  Some of those lives may be people you know and love.  

 You are also invited to join Facebook’s Organ Transplantation Initiative (OTI)  a group dedicated to providing help and information to donors, donor families, transplant patients and families, caregivers and all other interested parties.  Your participation is important if we are to influence decision makers to support efforts to increase organ donation and support organ regeneration, replacement and research efforts. 

Posted on April 11, 2010, in Organ Donation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ashley Tenczar Curran

    I read this great article several times.
    I have commented before on this site, but to reiterate, my husband is waiting for a life-saving Liver Transplant.
    Without it, he will die.
    And he will die soon, as his body is rejecting all the food (feeding tube and all) that is going into it, and he weights 156 pounds, and is 6’4.
    He looks as if he is a POW Survivor just released, and I am not exagerating one bit.
    I feel like taking a picture of him and posting it everywhere I possibly can, to show people the URGENCY of their consent to “brotherly love”.
    Pardon my bitter tone, but I have been an organ donor since I was 16. I never thought there was any other choice BUT to do the right thing!
    I do NOT understand why people can discuss life insurance policies, “mutilation and/or death” clauses, and how much money each member of the family should be worth around the dinner table, but they consider discussing organ donation “graphic” and “morbid”.
    I like what you said Bob, about each religion having the phrase “do unto others as you would do for yourself” in one variation or another in it.
    I have found, through research, that almost every religion asks you to “examine your conscience” and then decide.
    They do NOT prohibit organ donation.
    I was profoundly affected by the comments your posted Bob, from your wonderful group I have discovered.
    I say a prayer for EACH of those people, especially those who would choose at such a traumatic time to give their children’s organs to save several other children.
    Because, truth be told, the children get left out in the cold, they die every day, because the shortage of organs for their small bodies is WORSE than the shortage of organs for adults.
    That makes me so sad. A 50 year old man in my State, (MA) has a better chance of getting a new heart than a 5 year old child.
    We have to find another way. Sometimes I wonder if there are “powers that be” who are trying to STOP some of the innovative new research and trials for other reasons. I am not accusing anyone of malfeasance, but simply pondering how large drug companies and HMO’s are, and some of the inhumane things they have done in the past to save money, or gain money.
    Thank you, once again , for giving us a good read, and for constantly keeping this issue alive Bob. We may not be able to keep my husband or the next child who needs a heart alive, but we damm sure can keep the ISSUE ALIVE. You can bet the farm on that.

    Like

    • Thank you Ashley. I pray daily for your husband and you. I wish everyone could read your comments and feel the pain and compassion behind them as I do. God bless you and Peter.

      Like

  2. Great piece, Bob! Thanks for writing.

    Like

  3. Thanks for doing this, Bob. We need as much support for this topic aqs possible. Bill

    Like

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