April is National Donate Life Month, a time when an increased effort is made throughout the United States to honor donors who provide others with a second chance for a healthy life and encourage others to make this important decision.
Organ donation has a very personal meaning for me because of my husband, Brad Thomas. He was both a recipient and a donor. I am a registered donor and we talked about the value of organ and tissue donation. When Brad realized that he was a recipient himself, he was humbled.
Several years earlier, he had knee surgery due to a motorcycle accident. The doctor told him a "cadaver" ligament would be used in the surgery and with physical therapy; he would be able to gain full mobility of his knee. It never crossed Brad's mind a "cadaver" ligament was from a donor. It was not presented or explained to him that way before. Brad's quality of life was restored because of someone's loving donation.
He registered to be a donor through the driver's license renewal system. Brad's passing was sudden and unexpected. As a family, we are very pleased to honor Brad's wishes "to give back and make a difference" in someone's life.
Currently in the United States, there are more than 110,000 people waiting for a life saving organ transplant. In 2010, 6,152 people in the U.S. died waiting for an organ that never came. These are not only frightening statistics, they are real people. Few people realize that to become an organ donor, someone has to die in the hospital, on a ventilator. Each organ donor has the potential to save nine lives. If someone is unable to donate organs after their death, they may still have the potential to donate tissue, so every single donor is vitally important to saving the lives of fellow Utahns.
Help celebrate National Donate Life Month by getting the facts about donation and discussing your donation decision with your family and friends. It is easy to register and make your desires known. Log on to www.yesutah.org from any computer or even your Smartphone.