Monday, March 30, 2009

100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ transplant

The Record Live (Texas)

Organ Transplant Crisis: A New Approach

April is National Donate Life Month, and 100,000 people in the U.S. are racing the clock for their survival.

They need an organ transplant, and over half of these individuals will die before getting their life-saving operation.

The issue is not shortage of organs, but a shortage of donors, according to David J. Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers, a non-profit network of organ donors.

In the time it takes for 8,000 of these transplant hopefuls to die, approximately 20,000 viable organs will be thrown away – buried or cremated with their owners. LifeSharers wants to change that by giving people a chance to save their own lives by agreeing to donate their organs after they die.

The Power of Community

LifeSharers is marshalling the power of community in organ donations – with impressive results. The organization has created a 12,000+ member national network of individuals that have agreed to donate their organs upon their death. In exchange, these donors receive priority access to the organs of fellow members when and if they need a transplant. For the members of LifeSharers, their good deed can literally save their life.

By creating such a powerful incentive for non-donors to become donors, this reciprocity-based approach to organ donation has the potential to greatly increase the total pool of available organs. And more donors means fewer people dying while waiting for transplants.

And by rewarding those who agree to become donors, it also creates a much more equitable system of organ transplant access. As Undis puts it, “someone who would throw away his organs rather than save his neighbor’s life has no moral claim to a life-saving organ from his neighbor.”

LifeSharers’ community-driven approach is making organ donations – and access to organs – much more visible and mainstream. Because the network is open to the very old and very young (parents may enroll their under-age children), the sick and healthy, and is free of charge, barriers to access are virtually eliminated.

Organ Donation Facts

LifeSharers also works to educate the public about organ donation. For example, Undis notes the following.
  • Over 6,000 Americans die every year while on the waiting list for a life-saving transplant -- one every 90 minutes.

  • Half of the organs that could be transplanted are buried or cremated instead.

  • The waiting list is growing 5 times as fast as the rate of organ donation.

  • You are more likely to need an organ transplant than you are to die in circumstances that permit the donation your organs.

  • No one is too old to be an organ donor. People would rather live with an old organ than die waiting for a young one.

  • No one is too sick to be an organ donor. Ongoing advances in medical science mean that an organ that may not be transplantable today may very well be so five, ten or more years from now.
More information can be found at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88.

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

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