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Organ Donors Save Lives This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I am the recipient of two heart transplants. My second was last year and now that I’m healthier, I spend much of my free time giving speeches, doing interviews, and meeting with people in order to educate others about heart disease and organ donation.

I had my first transplant when I was six months old, back in 1992 when transplants were new and nobody was sure what would happen 10 years down the road. In fact, 10 years later, my body rejected my heart. After two years of intense treatments, hospital stays, and every other thing the doctors could do, they decided to put me on a list for a second transplant.

Last summer, because someone was kind enough to be an organ donor, another heart was given to me. It is because of that generous person and his or her family that I’m alive to write this. So, based on my life, I endorse the miracle of organ donation.

There are, however, some good people who do not support organ donation. They are not actively against it, they just say no because of their lack of understanding. Some of the reasons people decide against being a donor is they claim medical professionals will not work as hard to save their life. Not only is there no evidence of this, but it also goes against the Hippocratic oath. It’s rare for a doctor even to know if a person is a donor as they perform emergency care.

Some claim that organ donation is against their religion, but it is actually consistent with the beliefs of most denominations including Christianity and most branches of Judaism.

When people are in the hospital facing the death of a loved one, they may be asked to consider donation and it is easier to say no than to deal with anything other than their terrible loss. This is why people need to think about donating before they’re dealing with a crisis. They must understand that donations save thousands of lives each year and one person can provide eight critical organs - heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and intestine. That’s eight lives saved. They must understand that one tissue donor can also enhance dozens more lives with the incredible gift of eyes, bones, skin, heart valves, tendons and veins that fight infections in burn victims, prevent loss of limbs, and restore eyesight. They need to know that organs are donated from only 42 percent of potential donors, which works out to about 5,000 donors each year, while over 60,000 Americans are on waiting lists for organs.

More resources need to be devoted to educating the public on the need for organ donors. When was the last time you saw a billboard promoting organ donation? How about a commercial on TV or the radio? Probably never. So, due to a lack of knowledge, the most natural answer is no. That’s why I believe in educating the younger crowd - if teens say yes now, there’s a good chance they’ll say yes the rest of their life.

I hope this article can help this cause that has saved my life twice. Organ donation is clearly important - just ask my family, friends, doctors and nurses. To everyone considering donating remember this: “Don’t take your organs to Heaven; Heaven knows we need them here!”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

Alon_Freevoice said...
Jul. 25, 2011 at 1:54 am
This is inspirational and I hope this article can change a lot of people. Good job!
 
NobodyYouKnow said...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm
Your story is truly inspiring. 
 
megan said...
Jun. 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm
I'm taking my permit tomorrow and after reading this, I am deffintly going to become an organ donor! :)
 
Jmu1-27 said...
Apr. 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm
When my brother died 6 years ago at the age of 15 his organs were donated. That and this story have wanted me ,at the age of 14, become a doner. Knowing i could save someones life and still live mine. I'd do it in a heart beat ! great story ! 
 
Soccer lover said...
Feb. 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm
I'm waiting for a liver transplant. I agree with you. Great job!
 
BlahBlah135 said...
Jan. 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

:( :(

Great strory

 
Nikola J. said...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm
it's such a shame for people who don't want to be organ donors just because they have some,as they think,special excuses.u said something that really opened my eyes and that's the last sentence..."Heaven knows we need them here!" I hope this article will open the eyes to uneducated people and I also hope they will understand how important human's life is.
 
WindDancer said...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Great job! This is very eye-opening. I actually didn't know people were opposed to organ donation. I wish you the best in your mission to spread the word and I'll definitly be spreading the word too!
 
thebushhippie said...
Nov. 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm
WOW! This article so opened my eyes to the benifits of being an organ donor. It sounds really important, and it is, considering you wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for one kind person. This was really inspirational and I hope you live a healthy, long life! Thanks so much for writing this article! I'll try to spread the word! ;)
 
Strawberry123 said...
Jun. 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm
Good job! It makes it so much better that you have experience with it, you really know the facts from fiction. 
 
chrisi said...
Apr. 30, 2010 at 8:10 pm
I have herd many rumors and myths about being an organ donor.Thanks for taking your time to inform everyone about this and giving us the real facts.
 
boxen said...
Apr. 30, 2010 at 7:28 pm
im totally with u
 
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