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April is Donate Life Month: FAQs about organ donation

donate life month rainbow

Did you know there are nearly 115,000 U.S. adults and children currently — 500 in Kansas — awaiting life-saving organ transplants? Tens of thousands more await life-enhancing tissue or cornea transplants.

On average, 20 people die every day because the organs they need are not donated in time. However, one donor can save up to eight lives!

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation and to consider registering as a donor. It’s also a time to commemorate those who have received or continue to wait for transplants, and a time to honor those who have given the gift of life.

Ascension Via Christi is committed to raising awareness about organ donation. You can read more about Kansas’ organ and tissue donor registry on our website.

In addition, read more national FAQs about donation and transplantation, from Donate Life America.

Who can be a donor? People of all ages and medical histories are potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.

Does my religion support organ, eye and tissue donation? All major religions support donation as a final act of compassion and generosity.

Is there a cost to be an organ, eye or tissue donor? There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

Does my social and/or financial status play any part in whether or not I will receive an organ if I ever need one? No. A national system matches available organs from the donor with people on the waiting list based on blood type, body size, how sick they are, donor distance, tissue type and time on the list. Race, income, gender, celebrity and social status are never considered.

Why should I register my decision to be a donor? Transplantation is one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine. It offers patients a new chance at healthy, productive and normal lives and returns them to their families, friends and communities.

Transplants rely on the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors; but there are not enough donors to meet the need. The vast majority of Americans support donation as an opportunity to let their organs and tissue give life and health to others when they no longer need them. Unfortunately, many people overlook the important step of registering as a donor. Donors are often people who died suddenly and unexpectedly. Their families are then faced with making the decision at a time of shock and grief. Registering now relieves your family of this burden and serves as a real gift to them, as well as to the grateful recipients of your donation.

Every 10 minutes, someone else is added to the national transplant waiting list. Seventy-one percent of adults in Kansas have signed up in the Donor Registry; Kansas is seventh in the nation in registered donors!

There are three ways to join the organ and tissue Donor Registry:

  1. At your local driver's license office
  2. Online at sharelifemidwest.com
  3. iPhone users can register in the Medical ID tab of the iPhone Health app (iOS 10)
About Melissa Lacey

Kansas born; mother of two young children; communications professional for Ascension Via Christi.