The donor was a sixteen year old teenager who died in a car accident. Though we have never known the donor or his/her family, their unselfish decision to donate has allowed my family to experience over two additional decades with my dad. Twenty one years and counting. My dad was literally given a second chance at life.
So, happy 21st birthday, Dad!
One aspect of organ transplantation I don't know if many understand, is that organ rejection is a constant threat. There is constant risk for the immune system attacking the transplanted organ. The recipient must take daily immunosuppressant medications to help prevent rejection, but often there are severe side effects and health conditions that result from taking these drugs. It's common for doctors to make frequent adjustments to the combination of drugs. And sometimes, other organs can become at risk due to the prolonged use of these medications. It's a courageous journey, but one I'll bet most transplant recipients would say is worth it for the reward of life.
The benefits of organ donation are endless. Not just for my family but for thousands of others.
In 2014, organ donors made close to 30,000 transplants available.
Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national organ transplant wait list.
On average, 22 people die each day waiting for a transplant.
One donor, can save 8 lives.
(Above statistics provided by HRSA).
It's easy to become a donor:
- Designate your decision on your driver's license
- Tell your family about your donation decision
- Tell your physician, faith leader, and friends
- Include donation in your advance directives, will, and living will
You can also register on the Department of Health and Humans Services website here.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. I don't like to use this blog for public service announcements, but this topic is very close to my family.
Wishing my dad a very special day.