Today, approximately 75,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving organ. However, there are only around 8,000 deceased organ donors each year providing on average 3.5 organs. Living donors provide an average of around 6,000 organs per year (CDC, 2019).
The most commonly donated organs are the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and intestines. One single donor has the potential to save up to eight lives if all of these organs are donated. Although they do not come up as the top of mind organs being donated, donors can also impact many lives with eye and tissue donation.
How impactful are eye and tissue donations?
According to Donate Life Northwest, while less than 1% of hospital deaths meet the criteria for organ donation, cornea and/or tissue donation is open to nearly everyone. Each cornea and/or tissue donor can restore the vision, restore lost mobility, or save the lives of up to 50 people!
When someone is on the transplant list, they have to be ready to receive their transplant on the drop of a dime. They must be ready 24 hours a day to answer the phone and immediately head to the hospital if a matching organ becomes available. Could you envision living in such a constant state of waiting? Can you imagine the joy someone feels the moment they get the call and learn they are getting the organ they desperately need?
The truth is, even with all the modern advancements and technological breakthroughs in medicine, when you need an organ to fix your illness, there really are no alternative solutions. Furthermore, when you need an organ and are on the waiting list, there isn’t anything you can do except wait for an organ donor. Sadly, as the math above shows, there just aren’t enough organ donors each year.
There is hope though, as you can help be a part of the solution. Start the conversation today with people you care about and consider becoming an organ donor. Your decision to become a donor could help give life, sight, and health to over 75 people!
Can I become an organ donor?
Here in Oregon, anyone 15 years of age and older can register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor at their local DMV. You can be a donor regardless of your health or physical condition, so do not rule yourself out. Even if you have a health condition you believe may prevent you from donating, many of your other organs could still play a vital role in the lives of others, as well as contribute to research improving the process of organ transplantation.
By signing up on the Donor Registry, you are committing to be an organ donor and confirming your decision to the organ, eye, and tissue recovery agencies. It is also extremely important you let your family know of your wish to be a donor (Oregon.gov, 2019).
As people learn more about organ donation, some decide they want to immediately make a difference and become living donors. You, too, could also become a living donor and donate things such as a kidney or part of your liver. For more information, visit donatelifenw.org/content/living-donation to learn more about becoming a living donor.
Please consider making the decision to become an organ donor and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
To sign up on the Donor Registry:
- Go to your local DMV office and put a “D” code on your license, permit, or identification card;
- Go online at org; or
- Request a paper form by calling 800.452.1369