Over 114,000 Americans are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant

Educate Yourself and Save a Life


Over 114,000 Americans are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.  Each year, that number on the waiting list continues to grow much larger than the number of donors.  Nearly 500 of those people live right here in Nebraska.  Statistically, 50 of them will die without receiving their needed life-saving procedure.


Even though 95% of adults in the United States support organ donation, only 54% actually sign up to do it, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


Registering to donate organs is a quick and easy thing to do, yet many of us just have not taken the time to do so.  Anyone age 16 or over can consent to be a donor by simply choosing the option when getting his or her driver’s license.  Those who have not done that but wish to become an organ, tissue, and/or eye donor may visit the Nebraska Organ Recovery website at NEdonation.org.  One may also change a status of “registered” to “non-registered”, if so desired.


If you have been on the fence regarding organ donation, or if you are a bit fearful of the process and legality/moral issues, rest assured that today’s laws and procedures create a respectful, ethical flow of events before and after death. 


Under federal law, all organs recovered for transplant from deceased donors in our country have tight control to ensure equal access without any group or person having an unfair advantage.  Individuals with millions of dollars have their place on the waiting list the same as anyone else.


More people than ever before can be donors, due to recent advances in medical technology.  Even those over 80 years of age can become donors.  From just one person’s decision to become a donor, up to 100 people in need can benefit from receiving things like heart valves, tendons, bone, and skin.  One donor can save up to eight lives with organ donations of a heart, two lungs, two kidneys, liver, small intestine, and pancreas. 


We never dream that this can affect our own lives.  It is something “other people” must deal with, until it happens to us.  To some, the thought is “creepy” or disturbing.  Those who have witnessed the life of a loved one saved will most certainly argue there is nothing creepy about it.  It creates the strongest sense of gratitude imaginable, whether the donor chooses to be known or remain anonymous.


Perhaps this holiday season, consider giving the greatest gift – the gift of life.  Do what can be done now to save lives later.  Ask questions.  Be informed.  Talk to your doctor, spiritual advisor, and family.  Suggest it to your friends, educate your teen, remind yourself.  Visit Nebraska Organ Recovery at www.nedonation.org to learn more and register as a donor.  It is a meaningful random act of kindness that most any human can do!


Source:  Extension Educator Susan Harris-Broomfield – susan.harris@unl.edu or 308.832.0645.