April is Donate Life Month

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

Every ten minutes another person is added to the national waiting list for organ donation.

Every day thanks to an organ donor, someone is touched by the gift of life. On Thursday, Marietta Memorial Hospital hosted Donate Life Ohio’s Green Chair Campaign.

An Ohio grandmother's family is forever changed by an organ donation.

"My son-in-law had congestive heart failure when he was 25-years-old; he wasn't my son-in-law then, he was just my daughter's boyfriend. They went ahead and got married in 2001, 2003 he got a heart transplant,” says Bonnie Fields of Watertown, Ohio.

Registering to become a donor provides a second chance at life.

"Organ donation is really important; there are thousands of people everyday waiting on organ transplant -- a lot of those people die without receiving an organ,” says Sue McDonald, director of critical care nursing at MMH and liaison for Lifeline of Ohio. “By doing a donor registration, we can have more donors available for those recipients and save lives everyday."

If your driver's license is stamped donor, it is an informed consent that's honored when a patient becomes a possible candidate to make organ donation.

"You can start registering to be an organ donor at the age of 15 ½ and that is through the DMV office when you go to get your learner's permit,” McDonald says.

Working with donation is a rewarding experience for the hospital liaison in seeing both donor families and organ recipients.

"I feel like my role is to be there to support the family, but it's kind of a positive aspect of a very negative thing,” McDonald says.

People often have concerns about donating organs... a Lifeline of Ohio representative sets the record straight.

"No charge to the family, it's of course free because they're giving the gift of life and they've asked about open casket viewing -- there's no issues related to that,” says Regional Representative Kathy Warhola.

It's giving the gift of hope so those who need it won't have to die waiting for an organ that never comes.

"The most common transplants would be liver and kidneys but we can also transplant heart, two lungs, of course the liver, pancreas, small intestine and kidneys,” Warhola says. “So one organ donor can save eight lives."

There's no greater gesture than looking beyond your own life to save another.

"You don't need your body parts after you're dead, so if you can give a gift to someone to save their life and change their family, go for it,” Fields says.

In 2012, 28,000 Americans received a life-saving organ transplant and more than one million Americans received a life-changing tissue transplant.

If you want to register to become a donor, go to lifelineofohio.org. In West Virginia, visit donatelifewv.gov.


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