When one thinks of April, spring comes to mind, and with spring comes a new season that brings new life with it. Perhaps it is fitting then that April is also National Donate Life Month, a time when Donate Life organizations across the country strive to make life possible by educating and motivating individuals to register their decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. Just like the blossoming of this season gives people a sense of hope, rejuvenation and transformation, the donation and transplantation journey has a similar effect.
Last year, 600 lives were saved across the Commonwealth because of organ and tissue donors. This resulted in a 23% increase in organ donation compared to 2021 and the most lives save in any year. However, there are still lives to save this year! And even though a large percentage of Kentuckians have a positive view about donation, only 59% have registered to be an organ donor.
Anyone can become a potential organ donor regardless of age, ethnicity or medical history. The only restriction requires parents or guardians to authorize donation for anyone who is under the age of 18. This happens more so with living donations, types of donations and transplants that can be made without any reduced function in the donor’s body. However, any living donor must qualify through a hospital transplant program in order to be considered.
By adding your name to the organ donor registry, you’re consenting to give life to others through deceased donation. Deceased organ, eye or tissue donation is the process where an organ, eye or tissue is transplanted to another person at the time of the donor’s death. Common organ donations include the heart, kidney, lungs, liver, pancreas, and intestines. Cornea transplant from an eye donation is the most common of all transplants performed, exceeding 46,000 per year in the United States. Tissue donations are common as well and can be used to save and heal burn victims, cancer patients, babies, and athletes.
One person has the potential to save eight lives and enhance 75 others through organ, eye and tissue donation. Currently, there are nearly 114,000 Americans awaiting an organ transplant and 1,032 of those individuals live in Kentucky, not counting the thousands of others who will be in need of a tissue or cornea transplant in 2023.
If you are interested in becoming a donor, you can register online at RegistermeKY.org to bring hope to those waiting. For more information about organ, tissue, and cornea donation, please visit donatelifeky.org.