Our City: National Donate Life Month a key part of April
by Tom Rowland
Apr 24, 2014 | 519 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At least once a year, I like to bring attention to the importance of organ donation in hopes it might alleviate some fears and reinforce it importance in saving lives. Just this week, I was reminded of how much it means to know someone who has been given new life through organ donation.

Knox Horner, the son of my longtime friend, the late Dr. Sam Horner, had a liver transplant a few days ago. Today, he is walking and heading home. The color has returned to his cheeks, his smile is all inspiring and he is on his feet and walking! What an inspirational story and a testimony to the importance of people sharing organs. I know Knox’s family, friends and business associates are so happy for this new “gift of life” for Knox. Welcome home, Knox.

Today over 117,000 people are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Of that number, more than 2,500 live right here in Tennessee. Knox Horner had been on that list and received that “life-changing phone call,” and that “life-changing donation.” He is one of many right here in Cleveland who have been recipients of organ donations through the years.

Anyone can be an organ, eye or tissue donor. People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. A person’s medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissues can be donated.

Through organ donation, one person can potentially save up to eight lives. Organs needed to save and improve lives include heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, corneas, veins, skin, bones and more.

There are a number of people in Cleveland and Bradley County who are alive today, thanks to an organ donor. I recall one family in Cleveland who lost their young son in a tragic accident. They made the decision to donate any of his organs needed. Thanks to their unselfish giving, six people were given the “gift of life.”

One young girl was visually impaired, nearing blindness, and she got her sight back. Another was a child waiting on a kidney. Skin and tissues were used to help a burn victim.

The parents found comfort in knowing their son lives on through his organs donated to those in need. There is no cost to a donor’s family for organ, eye or tissue donations. And anyone can receive a transplant.

Our Bradley County clerk, Donna Simpson, has been recognized for her efforts in promoting organ donors. Becoming a donor is easy. You can simply check “yes” when you go to the Courthouse or the DMV to apply for or renew your license. Your name will be added to the Tennessee Donor Registry.

Because of a critical shortage of organs, it is estimated 18 people die every day waiting for a transplant. Last year, over 4,700 patients died waiting for a transplant in the U.S. and 82 of those were in Tennessee.

A website, www.donatelifetn.org, can give further details and answer any questions.

Donating “life” to someone is one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity. Consider being an organ donor. Talk to your family and make sure they are aware of your wishes.

April is National Donate Life Month. It’s a good time to take a look at what you can do to leave a lifesaving legacy.