Your story about Ryan Thompson and his family highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations.
More than half of the 99,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year.
More than 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.
There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.
Giving organs first to organ donors will convince 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.
Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is 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 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. LifeSharers has 11,450 members, including 47 members in Utah.