Wednesday, May 18, 2005

10 Year Old Gives Talk on Organ Donation

Susan Kershaw, wife of Herb Kershaw who recently received a lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital, submitted the following:

"Attached you will find a speech that my 10 year old niece Taylor did on organ donation. Not only did she win with an A+ for her class, she also won in representing her class in front of the whole school. She now goes to the regional speak off next Tuesday evening. Apparently, she had the judges crying!"

"I’m so damn proud of her as watching her uncle deteriorate affected her greatly and she was overjoyed that they found a donor for him. I had to share this with you.
Thanks, Susan."

"By this time tomorrow, 12 people in Canada who are alive right now will be dead, not because they were in a car accident, not becacuse they were sick in the hospital and not even because their time had come but simply because they could not get an organ transplant in time to save them.

I have chosen to speak to you today on a topic that is very important to me and a topic I think you should think about too, and that is organ donation.

Did you know that a simple thing like your signature on a donor card could mean life or death to some people??

I know death and dying is not something we like to think about at our age but because of my uncle Herb waiting for a lung transplant I have been thinking about it a lot.

There are both children and adults of all ages facing death everyday because an organ in their body is not working properly and without an organ transplant, they will die.

Scientist’s started to experiment with organ transplants in the 18th century and by the 20th century organ transplants became very successful.

The first successful kidney transplant happened in 1954. In 1968, the first heart transplant took place and in 1981, the first lung transplant was a big success.*

Every 27 minutes someone somewhere in the world receives an organ transplant, which sounds great,

But on the flip side, every 18 minutes a new name has to be added to the transplant list.

Would you believe that for every million people in canada there are only 15 donors?? I guess this is the reason that 12 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant!!

You might wonder what organs you can donate? The organs that can be used to save someone’s life are your lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, bowels and pancreas. these organs can not be stored for very long and need to be transplanted as soon as possible. Another type of donation is called tissue donation and this means that you can donate your skin, bones, eyes, heart valves and veins. tissue donations can be stored for up to a month.

If you cannot or do not want to be an organ donor then you might want to think about doing a whole body donation because this helps the medical students so they can learn how to be better doctors.

You are not going to need or use your organs when you die, so if you don’t donate them to someone who really needs them, then you are just wasting them. If you can save someone’s life, you will be a hero for doing this special thing.

Recently on March 29, a hero saved my uncle Herb’s life. He received a lung transplant, and this has given him a second chance to live a normal life. By being an organ donor, you get to live through someone else. Think about it and recycle yourself! Thank You."

*ed note:
Just to clarify, the world's first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto General Hospital in 1983, followed by the first successful double-lung transplant in 1986. A heart & lung transplant was done in 1981 and in 1983, the first barrier to successful transplantations was overcome when cyclosporine was introduced. See the following links:
Heart & Lung Transplant
Toronto General Hospital Lung Transplant Program

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