For the 2019 National Donate Life Month theme, Donate Life America was inspired by bicycles and the phrase “Life is a beautiful ride.” Like the donation and transplantation journey, a bicycle serves as a symbol of progress, renewal and the moving circle of life.
Bicycles come in all styles, shapes and sizes, but each is comprised of the same components, essential to supporting the rider and converting their energy into motion. Similarly, organ, eye and tissue donation offers many ways to give hope, support and strength to patients waiting, recipients and donor families. We each carry the potential to help make LIFE a beautiful ride for ourselves, and then for others, by registering as a donor, considering living donation, being a caregiver and championing the cause.
National Donate Life Month is designed to educate and encourage Americans to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors, as well as to celebrate those who have saved and healed lives through the gift of donation.
On April 12, the public is encouraged to wear blue and green Donate Life colors to raise awareness of and promote donation.
The need is great. More than 100,000 men, women and children await lifesaving organ transplants. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list. Twenty-two people die each day because the organs they need are no donated in time.
In 2018, more than 36,500 organ transplants from 17,500 donors brought new life to patients and their families. More than 84,000 corneal transplants are performed eeach year to restore sight. More than 1.75 million transplants heal lives annually.
There are more than 145 million people registered as organ, eye and tissue donors. You can register too by visiting RegisterMe.org.
The final week of April, April 22-29, focuses on the powerful message of ending the pediatric transplant waiting list. Nearly 2,000 children under the age of 18 are on the national transplant waiting list. More than 500 of the children waiting are between 1 and 5 years old. More than 1,900 children received transplants in 2018.
The most frequently asked questions about organ donation – and their answers:
Q. Does registering as a donor change my patient care?
A. No. Doctors work hard to save every patient’s life, but sometimes there is a complete and irreversible loss of brain function. The patient is declared clinically and legally dead. Only then is donation an option.
Q. Will I be able to have an open casket funeral if I donate?
A. An open casket funeral is possible for organ, eye and tissue donors.
Q. Does my religion support organ, eye and tissue donation?
A. All major religions support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity.
Q. Does my social or financial status play a part in whether or not I will receive an organ?
A.A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on many factors, including: blood type, body size, how sick they are, distance from donor hospital and time on the list. Race, income, gender, celebrity and social status are never considered.
Q. Why register to be a donor?
A. You can save up to eight lives and heal the lives of more than 75 people. Your registration serves as a symbol of hope to patients waiting, and sharing it with your family lets them know your decision. You can register right now by visiting RegisterMe.org.