Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The importance of organ donation

This blog post by Paul Leintz of KFGO Radio, who finally received a lung transplant after a three year wait, is a thoughtful look at the transplant process.

Paulee Pulse for 9-14-2009

Hey Everybody! Welcome to another blog. This part will be a little close to my heart. Tonight, I am going to meet with a couple of women who are awaiting double lung transplants. So, I want to dedicate this part of my blog to the importance of organ donation. There are so many people waiting for certain organs, in order to live a healthy life. I consider myself very lucky to have received a pair of lungs when I did. Seven years ago, I was in end stage lung function when I got my transplant, but there are many people who are not as fortunate as I am. I look back, and I know what it is like being on the receiving end of waiting for a transplant, and also been the one watching from the outside, as friends wait for a transplant. I can assure you that being on either side of the fence is not a fun thing to go through. As a matter of fact, I think that it is worse to know what people are going through, after you have gone through it yourself. The worst part of being on the outside, looking in, is when someone tells you that, basically, there is nothing that doctors can do for you anymore. My friend, Ryan, went through that. He was the first person I mentored, after my transplant. He fought so hard, for so long then get a germ (Burkholderia cenocepacia) that basically disqualified him from being able to get the transplant. I remember when he called me, telling me that he had the germ, and I could hear that the life had been sucked right out of him. Not too long after that, he passed away. I remember going to the funeral, and it was probably the most difficult funeral that I ever had to go through, because I put myself in his place, because I was so close to being there myself.

Basically, my point to saying all this is that I want to stress the importance of you becoming a organ donor. I waited for about three years to get my life saving call. There are so many people who are waiting for organs, that will die while waiting because there are quite simply not enough organs to go around, and they have to wait for another person to die (who are organ donors). No one looks forward to death, but wouldn’t it be a little more comforting to know that there will be a part of you that lives on, in someone who desperately needs it? After all, you are done using it…right? A lot of people are under the misconception that if you are a donor, that medical people won’t make as much of an effort to save you, if you are put in a life or death situation. That simply is not true. I don’t know who started that rumor, but it must have been someone with way too much time on their hands, and too much time to over think things.

I think that becoming an organ donor is the best way to continue to help people, even after you are gone. When I met with the family of the young man who I received my lungs from, his mother came with a stethoscope asking if she could hear her son’s lungs. Becoming an organ donor, also puts your family at a little more at ease, knowing that there is a part of you living on after you have passed. They say that the greatest gift in life, is giving life. Becoming an organ donor is just that…giving life!

“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. NEW for Ontario: - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! 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

Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

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