Besides registering, what else can I do to save lives? People who choose to be organ and tissue donors are often inspired by the spirit of giving. Here are some of the ways you can give the gift of life to others today.
Each year, approximately 30,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, which are treatable by a marrow or stem cell transplant. Just one in three will find a donor match within their family. Join the National Marrow Donor Program Registry all it takes is a simple blood test. Anyone between the ages of 18-60 and in general good health can join the Registry.
For more information on bone marrow donation contact the National Marrow Donor Program.
Most organ transplants would not occur without adequate blood supplies, but only 4% of the population donates blood. One blood donation saves as many as three lives, and healthy adults can donate blood every 56 days. Make saving lives a habit by donating regularly. Appointments to give blood can be coordinated through your local blood bank. To locate a blood bank near you, visit the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).
Living Organ Donation
Why become a living organ donor? Thousands of people die each year waiting for donated organs. There never are enough organs to meet the need. Medical science has advanced to the point where donation from a living donor is now possible.
By offering a kidney, or portion of the liver, or intestine, living donors offer their loved one or friend an alternative to waiting on the national transplant waiting list for an organ from a deceased donor.
Giving the gift of life to another person is one of the most meaningful things a person can do. Today, more than 6,000 living donors per year give the gift of life to another person, and one in four of these living donors aren’t biologically related to the recipient.
The South Carolina transplant waiting list is longest for kidneys. In fact, approximately 90% of those on the South Carolina transplant waiting list are in need of a kidney. Most of those patients are African American. In fact, compared to the kidney waiting lists for all other states, South Carolina’s list includes the second largest percentage of African Americans awaiting a kidney. Because the need is so great for kidneys in South Carolina, MUSC has a Living Kidney Donation Program to help increase the number of kidneys available for transplant.
For more information about other types of living organ donation visit UNOS’s Transplant Living web site. You can also contact the Medical University of South Carolina Transplant Center.