Our View: Consider giving the gift of life

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to reflect on the impact of organ donation, encourage people to consider registering as an organ donor and celebrate those who have saved lives through organ donation.

“For the 2019 National Donate Life Month theme, Donate Life America was inspired by bicycles and the phrase ‘Life is a beautiful ride,’” according to the Donate Life website. “Like the donation and transplantation journey, a bicycle serves as a symbol of progress, renewal and the moving circle of life. Bicycles come in all styles, shapes and sizes, but each is comprised of the same components, essential to supporting the rider and converting their energy into motion. Similarly, organ, eye and tissue donation offers many ways to give hope, support and strength to patients waiting, recipients and donor families. We each carry the potential to help make LIFE a beautiful ride for ourselves, and then for others, by registering as a donor, considering living donation, being a caregiver and championing the cause.”

There are currently more than 110,000 people, including childcare, on the national transplant waiting list, and every 10 minutes another person is added to the list.

Sadly, 8,000 people die each year (on average 22 people each day — almost one person each hour) because the organs they need are not donated in time.

While 95 percent of U.S. adults support organ donation, only about 50 percent are actually signed up as donors. Each year, there are approximately 30,000 tissue donors and more than 1.75 million tissue transplants. Only 3 in 1,000 people die in such a way that allows for organ donation, meaning the need continues to increase.

As the list of organs and tissues that can be successfully transplanted grows, so does our opportunity save and improve lives via donations.

One donor can save eight lives. Along with lifesaving organs, like the heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver and intestines, people can also donate tissue, corneas, hands and face, blood stem cells, cord blood, bone marrow and blood and platelets. A single tissue donor can help more than 75 people.

In 2018, more than 36,500 transplants brought renewed life to patients and their families and communities (from more than 10,700 deceased and 6,800 living donors).

All people, regardless of age or health, can be considered as donors. The health of the organ is more important than your age, and people newborn to 90-years-old have been organ donors. Even with an illness or health condition, you may still be able to donate. Doctors will make that determination upon death.

Furthermore, most major religions support organ donation.

Signing up on your state registry means that someday you could leave behind the gift of life.

The thing with organs is, when you don’t need them anymore, someone else might.

If you haven’t already, we encourage to consider making the decision to give the gift of life by registering as an organ donor in honor of National Organ Donation Month.

You can sign up in-person at the Clark County Circuit Clerk’s office when you get your driver’s license, or registering online at donatelife.net takes just a few minutes. All you need is some identification information and your driver’s license or photo ID number.