Seven Simple Things to Do in April to Celebrate National Donate Life Month
Today, in the United States, more than 98,000 people are in need of an organ for transplant. Each day, about 77 people get that organ and a second chance at life, but 17 to 19 others die because they could not. In 2003, April was designated as National Donate Life Month to raise awareness of the need to promote the choice of organ donation and to honor those who have selflessly given of themselves.
There are many simple ways to be involved with National Donate Life Month, many of which do not require a time-consuming or expensive effort, but will mean a lot toward saving more lives every day.
1. Learn your state’s laws about donation. For example, in my home state of South Carolina, family consent is not required to carry out a resident’s decision to be an organ, eye, or tissue donation, as long as they are older than 18. Once a person in SC signs up through the South Carolina Donor Registry, next of kin cannot override the decision.
2. Discuss your decision with your family and friends. In the case that something happens before you are able to officially register to be an organ donation, if family and friends are aware of your choice for your body in the case of your death, they are more likely to comply with your wishes.
3. Talk to your clergy or religious leader. Many people may also be concerned that their religious beliefs make them unable to donate organs or tissue. Research has found the majority of religions practiced in the US support organ, eye, and tissue donation and sees it as an act of love and generosity toward others. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, are often confused about organ donation, but according the National Headquarters for the religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses can donate as long as the donation was handled properly by removing all blood.
4. Encourage your workplace to become a member of “The Workplace Partnership for Life” campaign. One aim of the partnership is to promote an exchange of ideas to promote organ donation. If the company has a website, they can get a web banner to support Donate Life America.
5. Get your high school student involved. Decision Donation is a school program that has many materials to be used by both public and private educators to help teens learn early about organ donation.
6. Get free organ donation materials from the Health Resources and Services Administration, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services. A lapel pin can be worn to promote awareness of organ donation.
7. Reduce your risk for needing an organ for yourself or being denied as a donor. Eating right, exercising, and preventing or managing chronic health conditions will make it less likely that you will need an organ transplant and will maintain the health of your organs so they are in tip-top shape for someone else.
Read more about organ and tissue donation:
Organ Donations Decline but Need Rises
Chris Henry Donates Organs to Five
Jobs and Schwarzeneggar Team Up for Organ Donation
Americans Support Organ Donation but Few Follow Through