It’s Urgent! Become an Organ/Tissue Donor Now!

Frank Sinatra is quoted as having said to a sick friend, “I hope you live to 125 and that mine is the last voice you hear.”  I feel that way about all of you…and me, of course.

About 46% of Americans are organ and tissue donors while surveys indicate that around 90% of us think organ and tissue donation is a good idea.  So, why the gap?   Why are so few of us donors when we all seem to think it’s a good idea?  I think it is because people feel no sense of “urgency” to become donors.  No one thinks they are going to die any time soon, so what’s the rush?  To me, that is an understandable reaction.  Combine that with the fact that people generally don’t like to spend much time thinking about their own demise and you have the formula for low organ donation rates.

When you think about it, there’s some justification for the delay.  Because of medical, scientific and technological advances we are all living longer.  According to the National Vital Statistics Report from September of 2011 for all races and both sexes, American men will live to be 75.4 years old and American women will survive to 80.4 years (read the full report at  That’s a long time so putting off becoming an organ donor makes some sense (unless you are the person waiting for an organ).

But…as the commercial says…”But wait….there’s more!”  Those numbers are averages and they really don’t tell you much.  I’d like to delve into this a little more and show you why there is some urgency to your becoming a donor now.

While the life span look encouraging, we face hazards on a daily basis that may make you think a little about becoming a donor now.  I wish everyone a long and healthy life but here are some staggering facts we all should face.   Here’s some data on deaths that are preventable.  Does any of this fit your profile?

The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors

Smoking and high blood pressure, which both have effective interventions, are responsible for the largest number of deaths in the US. In 2005

  1. Tobacco smoking  467,000 deaths
  2. High blood pressure 395,000 deaths,
  3. Overweight–obesity 237,000 deaths
  4. Physical inactivity 222,000 deaths.

How about accidental causes of death.  Accidents happen — and they also kill enough people to rank as the No. 1 cause of death for those ages 1 to 42, according to the National Safety Council.  Here’s a countdown from the top four:

5. Choking (Approximately 2,500 deaths per year)

4. Fires (2,700 annual deaths)

3. Falls (25,000 annual deaths)

2. Poisoning (39,000 annual deaths

1. Motor Vehicle Incidents (42,000 annual deaths)

What about your job.  Are you safe there?  Does it present a hazard?  Here’s a list of the most dangerous jobs (full report at ).

  1. Fishermen “this occupation is characterized by strenuous work, long hours, seasonal employment, and some of the most hazardous conditions in the workforce.”
  2. Logging workers This occupation repeatedly takes a spot in the top 10 as not only one of America’s, but the world’s, most dangerous jobs.
  3. Airplane pilots and flight engineers It may be hard to believe that working as a police officer is safer than flying a plane, but according to the BLS, this is true. The bureau states that there were 78 fatal work injuries for this industry in 2010.
  4. Farmers and ranchers
  5. Mining machine operators The most infamous accident within this industry is undoubtedly the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in April of 2010, which claimed the lives of 29 out of the 31 miners on site.
  6. Roofers Just three weeks ago, four roofers in San Francisco were seriously injured when the roof of a six-story apartment complex collapsed under them.
  7. Sanitation workers
  8. Truck drivers and delivery workers
  9. Industrial machine workers Police officers In 2010, there was a nearly 40% increase in line-of-duty deaths among U.S. law enforcement.

And one more…hot dogs can be a quick, easy — and deadly — meal. Hot dogs are the perfect size, shape and consistency to block a child’s airway, and a WebMd report rates hot dogs as the top choking hazard for children. Choking killed about 2,500 people in 2009, according to the National Safety Council, and kids ages 3 and under are at the highest risk.

I know these data are depressing but so is the fact that 7,000 people die each year because there are not enough transplantable organs to go around.    I’m sure there will be a good number of people who will take issue with this post, saying that I’m trying to frighten people into becoming donors but I’m not.  This is reality.  Bad things can happen to good people.  I’m hoping that at least a few non-donors will be motivated to take action sooner than they had planned.  My new heart came from a 30 year old donor.  I’ll bet he didn’t plan to die that young but he became a donor anyway and because of it I’m here today writing this blog.  Please…become a donor.  It is a very urgent matter.

Consider what I’ve written, discuss it with friends, join discussions on Facebook’s Organ Transplant Initiative and comment in the space provided here.  When you have decided what you think is the best solution to the organ shortage contact your elected representative or U.S. Senator and let them know your feelings.  Change has to begin somewhere, why not with you?

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our new video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues.  When you leave this site go to our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative and join. The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

About Bob Aronson

About Bob Aronson On August 21, 2007 I received a new heart at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. All these years later I am very active, happy and loving life. God bless my donor and his family. His generosity toward a complete stranger will never be forgotten. I am retired and live with my wife Robin and two dogs Reilly the main dog and Ziggy the backup. We are a very happy family. My gratitude to my wonderful caregiver wife, my donor, his family and the Mayo Clinic is beyond my ability to express. Suffice it to say I will do whatever is in my power to promote organ and tissue donation and to help and support everyone affected by the issue. As a result of receiving the “Gift of Life” I have made a major commitment to organ/tissue/blood donation, transplantation and related issues. I am the founder of Facebook's over 4,000 member support group, Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the blog site, “Bob’s Newheart” I have authored the great majority of the nearly 250 blogs listed there. The remainder were written by excellent guest bloggers. The posts span a wide variety of topics mostly involving organ/tissue donation/transplantation and related issues, but also covering important current medical news and information. Wordpress data indicate the blogs have readers in 162 countries. Bob's Newheart is quickly becoming the news and information source of choice for those with an interest in organ/tissue donation/transplantation along with current developments in medical news and health care. Born In Chisholm, Minnesota I now reside in Jacksonville, Florida. I have three children and one step son, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. My three grown children are Roger Aronson a well-known and respected Minneapolis, Minnesota Attorney, Dr. Colleen Hegranes Senior Vice President St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota and Harryet (Hank) Freeman who is probably the best history teacher in America, at least that's what her students at Woodbury, Minnesota High school tell me. Stepson Tim Grant and wife Jennifer live a couple of blocks from us in Jacksonville. Jen is a talented cook, baker, and mother. Tim is an in-demand electrician in Jacksonville who can really make almost anything work. Stella and Lily Grant are two very bright and talented granddaughters. For 25 plus years I owned the Aronson Communications Group an international consultancy specializing in health care communication. The Mayo Clinic was my first consulting client, a relationship that lasted until my retirement. I also worked with 3M health care, UNOS, LIfeSource, Dartmouth University Medical Center and CH2M HILL, one of the nation's largest environmental engineering firms. Prior to being a consultant I served for four years as the first Anchor for Morning Edition on the Minnesota Public Radio Network; was the Communications director for Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich and before that held positions as a broadcast journalist at several Midwest facilities. I also served as the Director of broadcast communications at Moorhead State University in Moorhead, Minnesota. While I am retired Robin is not and I assist her efforts as founder and owner of Jingler’s Jewelry. She designs and makes colorful, "Fun" anodized aluminum jewelry and is also an accomplished printmaker. She sells her creations at art shows, festivals and gift shops in states east of the Mississippi but mostly in the south. Her website is When I have time, my hobbies include reading, music and woodworking. One of my most notable projects was completing a wood scale model of the mom and pop grocery store my parents ran for 50 years in Chisholm, Minnesota. The model now resides in Chisholm in my sister's home. Our parents were wonderful people who instilled in us a very strong work ethic and a sense of fairness and equality. I also built a dollhouse for granddaughter Lily Grant and just completed designing and building a CD box that looks like an accordion. A friend commissioned me to make it in memory of his father who was an accomplished accordion musician. I have a brother and sister of whom I am very proud . They are twins. Terry is a Minnesota District Court Judge and Mary a retired but still the best 3rd grade teacher in America. I am proud of them for what they have done but more importantly for who they are. My wife Robin is a caregiver, musician, artist, entrepreneur and the best friend I have. While we do a lot of things together we especially like making music. Often in the evening you can hear the strains of folk, Blue Grass, country and other music coming from our family room. Robin plays several instruments including string bass, accordion, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and...well the list goes on. I play harmonica and have one in almost every key. She's really good...I'm not. Quantity does not ensure quality. One more thing. I am also a recovering Alcoholic and a former smoker. I emerged from a 28 day in-patient alcoholism treatment program in August of 1982 and have managed to stay sober with the help of a lot of people both in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous. I quit smoking in January of 1991 after a 37 year habit of up to four packs of cigarettes a day. It wasn’t easy but I’m living proof that it can be done. I am available to anyone suffering from or affected by any addiction at any time through my email address or via phone 904-434-6512.

Posted on February 19, 2012, in Organ Donation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,377 other followers

%d bloggers like this: