The month of April is “National Donate Life Month,” a time designated nationally to help raise awareness about the critical need for organ, tissue, marrow and blood donors and inspire people to register their decision to donate life.
Every day in April, people across the U.S. have been making a special effort to celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, tissue, marrow and blood donors, and to encourage more Americans to follow their fine example.
What a perfect time of year to be able to renew and enhance life through the gift of organ donation. We have just celebrated one of the most holiest seasons of the year. This is my favorite holiday of all because it reminds me of the sacrifice made for each of us on the Cross. What better time of year to take the first step to giving “new life” to another person simply by signing up to become an organ donor?
There is much to celebrate, including the more than 28,000 transplants that were performed in the United States during 2010. Yet there is still much to do since there are over 110,000 Americans on the waiting list for a lifesaving transplant. In Tennessee, about 2,500 people are on the waiting list, yet annually only approximately 270 people donate one or more organs upon death.
Every day 18 people on the national waiting list die because a donor organ does not become available in time. Thousands of people need tissue and cornea transplants to enhance their lives and make them better.
Our Tennessee registry of organ donors is now growing. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, an average of about 3,500 people a month register as organ donors. The number on the registry has reached more than 1.5 million.
The state joined in the celebration of National Donate Life Month as did Bradley County Clerk Donna Simpson and her staff in the office of the Bradley County Clerk.
Donna and her staff join other county clerk staffs across Tennessee who help save lives every day when they ask their patrons to donate a dollar to organ donor awareness.
Their work has collected over $10 million in the past 25 years, desperately needed monies that fund public awareness throughout each state.
Tennesseans can also register at the department’s driver service centers across the state or at the Donate Life Tennessee Organ and Tissue Donor registry. When you renew your driver’s license make certain the Organ Donor Box is checked to let others know you are a donor.
The number of people waiting for organ donations is staggering across America, but it hits home with numerous people I know who could extend their life through organ donation.
Cleveland has a number of success stories of people still alive today because someone was a donor. I have many friends who have experienced the gift of life through the donor program.
I know firsthand how a family feels when they are waiting for a donor and get that phone call to let them know one is available.
While a potential donor’s next-of-kin cannot override an individual’s legally documented donation designation, the family will be consulted before donation takes place. A discussion with family now will mean a life-affirming decision later.
Transplantation is no longer considered experimental. It is a desired treatment for thousands with end-stage organ disease. Each year, approximately 800,000 Americans receive tissue transplants and close to 30,000 receive organ transplants.
If you are not a donor, consider it today.
There is much more information about it online, or you can visit Bradley County Clerk Donna Simpson’s office for information as well.
Give the Gift of Life.