Did you know that there are over 120,000 American’s currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant? When you learn that one organ donor could save up to 50 of those people, it’s hard to understand why so many are still left waiting. The reason is simple – people aren’t donating! National Donor Day takes place in February to help raise awareness and inform the public about organ donation.

What is Organ Donation?

Organ donation takes place when someone who’s a registered organ donor dies. After their death, all healthy and usable organs are harvested from their body and given to those in need that have been waiting on the donation waitlist. Those in need of an organ donation have to wait for a compatible match. For those with rare blood types, that can often mean waiting until it’s too late.

Organ donation involves 4 major areas:
• Internal organs – these include heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and more.
• Bone and bone marrow
• Skin – skin donations are typically used for burn victims in need of skin grafting.
• Cornea

Blood and blood plasma can be donated as well, but those donations come from live donors. Getting people to donate blood or blood plasma seems to be easier than getting people to sign up to be an organ donor. Many of the vital organs needed for the long waitlist of patients have to be harvested quickly after death. For this reason, it’s crucial for first responders to be able to identify if you are an organ donor or not. Your state ID or drivers license can be updated to include that information so that no matter where you may be when you pass, you will be able to donate to those in need.

Becoming an Organ Donor

Making a choice to become an organ donor is making a choice to save someone’s life. In most cases, you will save the lives of many people. Becoming a registered organ donor is easy. Visit organdonor.gov to become an organ donor today. Signing up is quick and easy. There are no risks associated with becoming an organ donor. After all, when you’re dead, you won’t be needing the organs anymore!
Use February and National Donor Day to talk with your friends and family about the importance of organ donation. Ask them if they’re registered to be a donor and if they aren’t, show them how to register.