For many Americans, Feb. 14 is about much more than Valentine’s Day. It’s also National Donor Day: a day “dedicated to spreading awareness and education about organ, eye and tissue donation,” according to Donate Life America. After all, what says love more than giving someone the gift of life? If you or a loved one have been impacted by an organ donation, then you know the significance of this truly incredible process.
How being an organ donor impacts others
As a donor, you have the ability to save eight lives by donating your kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and heart. You can also affect the lives of up to 75 people through the donation of your eyes, bone and tissues, according to Penn Medicine. Here in Gainesville, the UF Health Shands Transplant Center has performed over 8,000 organ transplants since 1966.
One patient, Randy Batista, received a live kidney transplant from his friend and co-worker, Liesel O’Dell. Randy’s kidney failure affected his everyday life, making it hard for him to see and have the energy to get out of bed. Liesel helped him to feel normal, and in the process, gave him time to reach people through photography without worrying about whether or not he would be able to function, according to the UF Health website. For many, organ donation seems daunting and even a bit scary. Yet the important thing to remember is that life is a lot harder and scarier for those who need donations and the families behind them. According to the Health Resources & Services Administration, over 100,000 people are currently waiting for organ donations. Consider making a difference today.
How to become an organ donor
If you have considered the impacts of organ donation and wish to register as a donor, you may do so by visiting https://www.organdonor.gov/sign-up and selecting your state from the list. You can register by visiting https://www.donatelifeflorida.org/register/ as a Florida resident. You can also register when you renew or replace your driver’s license. Registering as an organ donor should not be taken lightly, and you may unregister yourself at any time. You may also limit which organs are allowed to be donated should you feel uncomfortable with donating certain organs.
As National Donor Day approaches, consider how you can learn and raise awareness within your community and spheres of influence. By raising awareness and registering as an organ donor, you could be saving more lives than you can imagine. This Valentine’s Day, forget the flowers, chocolates and stuffed bears, and give the gift of life.