Donations that make life-saving differences

Are you registered?

It’s an election year, and voting is important. But we’re talking about organ donation. Registering as a donor is something you can do today that could save a life tomorrow.

April is National Donate Life Month, an observance focusing national attention on the need for and importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. You can register simply by asking for it to be indicated on your driver’s license. It’s also important to let your loved ones know that you wish to be a donor.

Donors save lives every day. The decision to offer vital organs, like heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, can change the journey of a family’s life. Someone on a list, patiently praying, waiting and hoping, can receive what they need to live, even in the aftermath of tragedy like an untimely death due to an accident.

When you register to be a donor on your driver’s license, you could potentially become a deceased donor in the event of your death. Yet donors also share the gift of life through living donation. For example, with living kidney donation, a living person donates one of their kidneys to the patient in need of transplant as it’s possible to live a healthy life with one kidney.

Living organ donors make thousands of transplants possible every year. Relatives, loved ones, friends and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous often serve as living donors.

Avera has deep roots in transplantation care. Avera is home to the region’s first kidney transplant program, and the only pancreas transplant program in the Dakotas and the surrounding region.

Transplant allows someone with a serious or potentially fatal condition to get a second chance at life. Whether the donor is deceased or living, it’s an amazing and generous gift, and it all begins with awareness.

According to Donate Life America:

• More than 100,000 men, women and children are on national lists, waiting for organs.

• 16 people die each day waiting.

• One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance 75 others.

• Almost 50,000 transplants took place last year.

Strength in numbers is needed, because while 170 million people are registered as donors, a much smaller fraction end up being actual donors. It’s a matter of having the right circumstances at the right time for each individual patient who receives an organ.

That’s why it takes us all. Talk to your family and make this month the time when you joined this growing group of people who are ready to save the life of someone in need.

— Debbie Streier is regional president/CEO of Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center


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