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Share the Gift of Time-Donate Life

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  • Written By: Frederick Health
Share the Gift of Time-Donate Life

Did you know that 95 percent of Americans are in favor of being an organ, tissue, and eye donor but only 58 percent are actually registered? While there have been incredible advances in medical technology, the demand for organ, eye, and tissue donation still vastly exceeds the number of donors.

Today, approximately 112,000 men, women, and children in America are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, and every 10 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list. In Maryland alone, approximately 3,600 people are on that list. Unfortunately, 22 people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time.

However, you have the power to help and become one of the nearly 145,000 Frederick County residents to register.

This National Donate Life Month, make a difference and register to become an organ donor.

How Can I Register?

Registering to become a donor takes less than a minute, and anyone regardless of age, background, or medical history should consider themselves as potential donors. There is no cost associated with being a donor, and your donor status never affects the care you receive as a patient.

Registering online is fast, easy, and secure. Visit the Maryland Donor Registry to fill out the form and add your name to the national donor database. Make sure you have your driver license and ID number available.

How Does Donation Work?

Each year, over a million lives are saved and enhanced by organ, eye, and tissue donors. There are two types of donors: deceased donors and living donors. Both play a vital role in helping a person in need.

Through an organ donation, one deceased person can save up to eight lives and enhance more than 75 lives through tissue donation. Donation is only considered after all life-saving efforts are tried. In addition to providing tissues and corneas, deceased donors can also provide organs such as kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart, and intestines. Living donors can donate whole kidneys or parts of the liver, which can drastically reduce a patient’s wait on the transplant list.

Patients receive transplants based upon several factors such as blood type, tissue type, medical urgency, waiting time, expected benefit, geography, and other medical criteria when a deceased donor is identified.

The matching of organs and recipients is coordinated anonymously through the United Network for Organ Sharing, which is based strictly on medical criteria to ensure the organ goes to a person who needs it the most—celebrity status or wealth is never a factor.

When a patient dies, their medical history is reviewed to see if they are a suitable donor. Even those with diabetes, heart disease, or cancer are potential donors. Even if you are ultimately unable to donate, registering as a donor is a great way to show your support for this important cause.

Visit Donate Life Maryland’s Myths and Misconceptions page for additional answers and information about becoming a donor.

Honor Walk

The walk that a family takes from the Intensive Care Unit to the operating room has often been called the “loneliest walk.” This is the final walk they will take as a family, as the patient is moved from their room to the operating room to become an organ donor.

So families feel less alone during this difficult time, some hospitals participate in an “Honor Walk,” where staff is invited to come and silently line the pathway from the ICU to the OR to pay respects to the donor and offer support to the donor’s family.

Support Donate Life Month

April is designated as National Donate Life Month to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation awareness and celebrate those who have given the gift of life. Throughout the month, various local, regional, and national activities take place. Locally, here’s how you can support organ donation this month:

  • Participate in “Flags Across America” by raising the Donate Life flag in honor of organ, eye, and tissue donors.
  • Promote and participate in National Blue and Green Day on Friday, April 17. Wear green and blue to commemorate the cause!
  • Participate in the #In1Word challenge on social media and share posts related to why you chose to be a donor.

There is no better time than now to register—it’s a selfless gift that could save lives. Visit today.