Giving Means Living, A New Facebook App

by M-Gillies

Find it in your heart to do one last thing. Become a registered organ donor.

“Don’t think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive. It’s really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive.” ~ Author Unknown

A future is yours to give. The choice cannot be made by anyone else, the decision is one of pure generosity and selflessness. It’s been called the Gift of Giving, the Gift of Life and for many Giving Means Living. The truth is, every month 18 people will die unnecessarily while waiting for a vital organ transplant. With over 100,000 men, women and children waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, along with more than 4,000 new patients added to the waiting list each month, the sad reality is that many will die before a matching organ can become available.

Currently the organ donation rate worldwide is below its necessary average – this means, people who could live, if they had a new heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas or small bowel, sit on a waiting list, hoping for a donor as they wait in vain.

Each day, families are experiencing heartbreaking tragedies. There is no greater loss than the death of a husband, a mother, a child or other close relative. But all this can change. It takes great courage to reach out and help someone, there is valor and grace that are unspoken attributes when a person donates their organs to a family, and for those who do, they are worthy of our deepest admiration.

To save a life that would have been ultimately cut short is the nearest attribute to being a hero. The sacrifice and the altruism extends far beyond the limitations of concern. However, with the organ donation registration rates as low as they are, North America is facing a crisis in life-saving opportunities.

Transplantation is without question the world’s greatest achievement within modern medicine. It has for years given patients facing certain death an opportunity to live their lives to the fullest. It has transformed and saved thousands and it doesn’t just affect regular people. Many notable celebrities have had to undergo some form of organ transplantation at some point in their lives, from technological innovator Steve Jobs to Comedian George Lopez.

Tragically, in these times of medical advancements, we are facing an unfortunate irony that there has never been a worse time to be on a transplant waiting list. With the number of people being added to the waiting list growing, their wait for surgery continues to extend and their chances of dying while waiting have never been so high.

For one donor, eight organs can be donated to help many in need of hearts, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small bowels. Sadly, the number of donors has not increased significantly, leaving many transplant specialists to restrict the number of patients who are accepted on waiting lists.

Patients on kidney dialysis machines can wait up to several years to get a kidney transplant, if they get one at all, those waiting for new hearts or liver have a one in four or one in five chance of dying while waiting on an organ that is currently unavailable, and in some cases, potential recipients are taken off the list because they become too ill to undergo the surgery.

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying.
At a certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine.
And don’t call this my death bed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car so that he might live to see his grandchildren play;
Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week;
Take my bones, every muscle, every fibre and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk;
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window;
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow;
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weakness and all prejudice against my fellow manÖ
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who loves you.
If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.”

From the poem To Remember MeÖ by Robert N. Test, first published in the Cincinnati Post, November 1976.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference, and while the decision to donate organs and tissues after death is a very personal choice, each donor can potentially save up to eight candidates on a waiting list. These can be fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters. Their ages can be as young as three years to 65 years and older.

While innovative surgical techniques have helped address the organ shortage and minimize the deaths on the waiting list, this merely acts a temporary solution. To address the need of organ donations, living donors have become a source when a need for a healthy kidney is required. Similarly to the kidney, individuals can also donate a portion of their liver in order to save someone’s life.

Everyone can make difference today, by visiting their local donor registration site. As a result of this decision, lives will be saved, giving many an opportunity to live longer, fuller and healthier lives.

Join today in our efforts to bring awareness to the importance of being an organ donor, because Giving Means Living.

Read more:

Giving Means Living Facebook App

Donate Life America

United Network for Organ Sharing

Canadian Society of Transplantation

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