Raising Awareness of the Importance of Living Organ Donors

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Raising Awareness on the Importance of Living Organ Donors
Every year thousands of ordinary people save the life of someone in need. Ordinary citizens do extraordinary acts by running into a burning building to save a child, rushing to the scene of a car accident, or diving into a river to help a less than experienced swimmer. But there is also a less well known act of heroism that is equally heroic, and that is the decision to become a living organ donor. Living organ donors are the silent heroes whose generosity goes virtually un-noticed as a heroic act of kindness. Yet with the rising need for organs, many patients lose the battle with their disease because there are not enough organs and there are not enough people who are educated about living organ donation. Transplant patients wait months or years for an organ; what would it take for a family member, friend, or stranger to consider living organ donation?

There is currently over 92,000 patients waiting for an organ transplant. Each patient that needs an organ transplant is added to the National Transplant Waiting List. The transplant list order is determined by how severe the illness is, the patient's blood type, the organ that is needed, and how long the patient has been on the waiting list (United Network for Organ Sharing, 2006). If a patient needs a transplant, there is no telling how long they could remain on the continually growing list.

A living organ donor is a person who is alive and well who makes a decision to give up all or part of their organ to be transplanted into another person. A living donor can donate a kidney, a segment of liver, a lobe of a lung, a portion of an intestine or pancreas, bone marrow, and in rare instances, a heart (Transplant Living, 2006). The amount of living organ donors who have donated an organ has more than doubled in the last 12 years. Educating the public on living organ donors may increase those numbers yet again. Although there is an increase in living...
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