Importance of being an organ donor

Imagine what it must feel like to save the life of another person. What must it feel like to give this gift to another human being, to literally save someone’s life. You can make a simple choice and save up to eight people just by registering as an organ donor.

As an organ donor you can save the lives of up to eight people and enhance the lives of 150 or more. The shortage of donated organs in our country is staggeringly disappointing. Millions of names wait on a static and slow moving list compiled and organized based on need and time left to live. This list includes grandparents, mothers and fathers, adults, teenagers, and children, some only months old. These people wait months, many wait years, for a matching donor. They are waiting for people like you to make the commitment to be an organ donor. Far too many die while they are waiting because the need for organs far outweighs the number of donors.

Perhaps this shortage is due to the all too common misconceptions associated with organ donations. It is quite shocking how misinformed most people are.

“No, I need my heart. Why would I give it away?” one Sam Houston State University senior said when asked to register. You will never be asked to donate organs while you are living. By registering as a donor, you are agreeing to donate your organs or tissue after you die, when you obviously don’t need them anymore. And you only donate the organs you want to. You can just donate your liver or you can give everything from your femur bone to you eyeballs. Many people who donate everything, even sections of skin and bones, still have open casket funerals, their bodies still intact without a visible sign of anything missing. Donors are treated with complete respect and in exact accordance with their wishes and the wishes of their families.

Until recently, there was no national registry for organ donation. But a newly instituted directory allows donors to visit a Web site,, or send information in by mail, in order to provide for an organized database. Still, the most important and the only absolutely vital step in becoming a donor is simple – tell you family or next of kin. If you should pass away your family or next of kin will make all the decisions pertaining to the donations of your organs and tissue. So it is crucial that they know exactly what your wishes are.

Students for Organ Donation Awareness, SODA, is a national organization that a group of students started at Sam Houston State last year. They work to spread awareness and register donors on and around campus. Representatives from SODA will be in the mall area on campus on November 14 and 15 selling “puppy chow” candy for the Thanksgiving holidays. Take a minute to stop by their table and find out more about organ donation if you still have questions. Many people find organ donation a scary topic to discuss as it is often associated with death. But truly, donation brings something positive to what is otherwise a heart wrenching time. It helps to bring life full circle. You don’t have to lose your life; you can give it to someone else.

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