Donate Life Month encourages organ donor registration

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Did you know that an astounding 115,000 people in United States are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant? Because of the overwhelming need of donors, in 2003, Donate Life America instituted April as National Donate Life Month to encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors.

According to Donate Life America, every 10 minutes someone is added to the waiting list. Unfortunately, someone dies every hour because they did not receive a lifesaving organ in time. These shocking statistics prove just how important it is to make the decision about becoming a registered organ donor.

Maya Angelou’s quote “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud” was the inspiration behind this year’s artwork for National Donate Life Month. The rainbow represents “hope and comfort” after a storm. Donate Life’s website states that “the vibrant Donate Life rainbow in the National Donate Life Month artwork rises from stormy clouds, recognizing that it takes both rain and light to create the gift of a rainbow.”

A little more than half of the U.S. population are registered organ, eye and tissue donors. It’s hard to comprehend and appreciate the result of making that decision until you’ve experienced it firsthand.

Gail Brewer, Wilson Medical Center’s director of quality and outcomes management, understands the significant impact that organ donation can make on someone else’s life. Gail’s late husband Ronny was a bone donor; according to Donate Life America, one tissue donor can benefit more than 75 people.

Ronny’s donation affected the life of an individual who was involved in a car accident several years ago and crushed the bone in her leg. The donor recipient wrote a heartfelt note to Brewer to thank her. In the letter she writes, “I am now able to walk and jog and hike all over the mountains again. I will forever be grateful for the bone donation by your loved one.”

Brewer says it’s easy to feel like you’re overwhelmed with everything when you lose a loved one. But as she reflects now, four years later, she says she’s glad she decided to go through the organ donation process.

“When you get a note like that, you think ‘Wow, I’m so glad I took the time to go through the process.’ It really does make a difference.” Brewer said.

If you’re interested in learning more about organ donation, or to register, visit DonateLife.net.