Raising Awareness During ‘National Donate Life Month’ (Op-Ed)

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Imagine depending on someone you never met to save your life. That was my family’s experience. My father needed a heart transplant because of a medical condition. His life depended on a generous person–his donor, our hero–who chose to say YES to organ donation. Thanks to their gift, my father lived for nearly 20 more years. We had two more decades of time together.

Everybody deserves a second chance. But in our region including the Saucon Valley, more than 5,000 children and adults are waiting for a life-saving transplant. Their future depends on compassionate people who register as an organ and tissue donor.Organ Donor Gift of Life

I now work for Gift of Life Donor Program. Our mission is to give each person on the waitlist–our family members, friends and neighbors–their second chance at life. Everyone is invited to join this life-saving mission and share the power of donation during National Donate Life Month this April.

The impact of a single donor is extraordinary. One organ donor can save up to eight lives, and a tissue donor can transform the lives of more than 100 people through precious gifts of skin to heal burn victims, bone and ligaments for orthopedic surgeries, corneas to give the gift of sight and more.

Here are five easy ways to celebrate National Donate Life Month:

  1. Sign up to become a donor. Everyone can register regardless of age or medical history. It’s quick and easy to sign up at donors1.org.
  2. Share your decision. It takes a team of heroes to save the lives of every person on the waitlist and that includes your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
  3. Learn more. Explore our website at donors1.org to discover facts versus myths about donation and much more.
  4. Connect with Gift of Life on social media. Our community of donor families, transplant recipients, living donors and advocates is filled with generosity and gratitude. Read and share inspiring stories by following Gift of Life on Facebook and @donors1 on Instagram and Twitter.
  5. Continue the tradition. Our Gift of Life region has been the most generous for organ and tissue donation in the United States every year since 2008. In 2021, we made history with the most organ donors–705 heroes–in the U.S. ever in one year. These selfless donors made 1,732 transplants possible, the most in the U.S. last year. And Pennsylvania recently celebrated a milestone of more than five million people registered to become a donor. We can save even more lives if more people sign up.

Every family deserves the second chance that mine had.

Gift of Life Donor Program is the nonprofit, federally-designated organ procurement organization, working with 129 acute care hospitals and 14 transplant centers to serve 11.3 million people in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Thanks to its compassionate community, for the past 14 years, Gift of Life has coordinated the most organ donors in the United States. Its annual donation rate, most recently 62 organ donors-per-million-population, ranks among the highest in the world. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 58,000 organs for transplant, and more than two million tissue transplants have resulted from the generosity of donors and their families. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and a tissue donor can improve the lives of more than 100 others. For more information or to register as a donor, visit donors1.org.

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