April is Donate Life Month

Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve made my way to my blog.  And to be honest, I really miss it and wish I could find more time but three kids with busy schedules and a busy job keep me going pretty consistently.  I love the craziness but only wish I could sneak 30 minutes every so often to keep up on my blogging. 

Thankfully, my work gives me a lot of satisfaction and quite often, I’m able to mix my passion for great causes with my work life.  Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gift of Life Michigan on a donor drive 2010 campaign.  I’ve always been a strong supporter of organ donation–can’t think for one minute why I need my organs when I’m not here anymore.   I truly can’t imagine what it’s like for all the people waiting for organs and I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Gift of Life Facebook page reading some pretty amazing stories. 

What’s interesting to me is that so many people don’t understand that you cannot just sign the back of your driver’s license anymore.  The online registry is the best way to make sure you are listed and recognized as a potential organ donor and it takes about 5 seconds to get through the process.   April is Donate Life month–the perfect time to sign up on the registry so if you haven’t already, do it now.  The 3,000 people in Michigan waiting for organs thank you.

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Posted on April 19, 2010, in Organ Donation, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. According to a new survey by Donate Life America 43 percent of people are undecided, reluctant or do not wish to have their organs and tissue donated after their deaths. Is this because Americans don’t know there is an organ shortage? No. The survey also reports that 78 percent realize there are more people who need organ transplants in the U.S. than the number of donated organs available.

    Meanwhile, the number of people who need transplants keeps growing. As of April 1, 2010, there were over 106,700 people on the national transplant waiting list. More than half of these people will die before they get a transplant, while Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

    Just about every single one of the 43% of Americans who aren’t willing to register as organ donors would accept an organ transplant if they needed one to live. As long as we let non-donors jump to the front of the waiting list when they need transplants we’ll always have an organ shortage.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — allocate donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs. UNOS, which manages the national organ allocation system, has the power to make this simple policy change. No legislative action is required.

    Americans who want to donate their organs to other registered organ donors don’t have to wait for UNOS to act. They can join LifeSharers, a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will save more lives by convincing more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

  2. Mr. Undis, if you would spend your time promoting the legitimate, sanctioned donor registries of each state rather than this misguided club, you could actually help save many lives.

    In Michigan, the most common reason people have not signed up on the state’s Donor Registry is because they thought they already had when they signed the back of their license. When given accurate information and the tools needed, most do register. In fact, more than 1.8 million Michigan residents have signed up already!

    The only donor registry accessed in Michigan at the time of a potential organ, tissue or eye donation is the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. There is no upper or lower age limit, and no medical criteria that prevents anyone from signing up at http://www.giftoflifemichigan.org or at the local Secretary of State branch office. It is only by signing up on this state Donor Registry that residents can obtain the red heart donor symbol for their license or state ID card.

    Jennifer Tislerics
    Corporate Communications Department
    Gift of Life Michigan
    800-482-4881

    • Ms. Tislerics:

      LifeSharers is a donor registry as defined under the 2006 Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which has been enacted into law in Michigan.

      Whenever a hospital refers a potential donor to an organ procurement organization, section 14(a) of the 2006 UAGA requires that the OPO must search all donor registries that operate where the potential donor lives. Gift of Life Michigan was notified in 2009 that LifeSharers is a donor registry operating in Michigan. So if, as you imply, Gift of Life Michigan is not accessing the LifeSharers donor registry at the time of a potential organ donation, then Gift of Life Michigan is not complying with the terms of the 2006 UAGA.

      LifeSharers supports the fine work of all OPOs in the United States, including Gift of Life Michigan. It’s too bad you don’t seem to like what we’re doing. I hope you will do what you can to make sure your employer complies with the terms of the 2006 UAGA.

      By complying with the law, Gift of Life Michigan will also honor the decisions made by over 400 registered organ donors in Michigan. LifeSharers members have decided that they want to donate their organs when they die. They’ve also decided that they want their organs offered first to other LifeSharers members, if any member is a suitable match, before they are offered to others. This is accomplished through directed donation. As practiced by LifeSharers members, directed donation is legal under Michigan law. The United Network for Organ Sharing has stated publicly that it is the duty of transplant professionals to ensure that all donations are handled properly, including directed donations.

      Representatives of licensed and accredited organ and tissue procurement organizations can search the LifeSharers donor registry at http://www.USRegistries.com.

      David J. Undis
      Executive Director
      LifeSharers
      http://www.lifesharers.org
      615-351-8622

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