A Helping Heart

October 27, 2010
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Everyone wants to be able to go where they want, when they want. It is one of the most exciting days of your life. You are getting your license! You have been basically waiting for this your entire life. Whether you are getting your actual license or just your temporary permits, you are going to be more independent in many ways. As you are walking to the main desk, a little skip in your step, you feel like you are ready to take on the world. One of the questions that most are not prepared for is, “Would you like to become an organ donor?” Becoming an organ donor seems like a tedious thing, but there are many stories that show the answer can be worth a life of someone, somewhere.
As a teenager, this question is quite frightening, but as you think of everything that happens, it is also amazing. There are eight organs that can be transplanted. You can donate your liver, pancreas, heart two lungs, two kidneys and intestines. Many people hesitate though with the thought “I came in with them; I am going out with them too.” I think that most of the people who reply with this answer would change their minds if they knew how many people are out their waiting for their prayers to be answered.

The latest statistics released from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network are quite shocking. They show that a total of over 105,000 people are on the organ transplant waiting list. Sad thing is, 19 people die a day waiting for one. Patients who are informed they need to be put on this list go through a very long process. They must then find appropriate transplant centers and then be put onto that transplant list. Waiting to see if you have been put on the list is like waiting for rain in a year of drought. If uninsured, the patient faces beiing turned down right away. After waiting for so long many begin to loose hope as quickly as they had received it. Their lives can change in a heartbeat. At the end of 2006, 173,339 people were alive and well, living with an organ transplant. The only problem is, the recipients of these organs feel the weight of guilt on their shoulders. Sometimes, they are even crushed by the guilty feeling.

One person that touched the lives of many was Jason Ray. He was definitely not a selfish and arrogant person. He was the mascot for The University of North Carolina. While staying at a hotel during the NCAA Tournament, Jason decided to walk and go get something to eat. Walking back to the hotel Jason was suddenly hit by a car. Jason’s family and friends drove to New Jersey, hoping they could somehow help him survive. Sadly he would not make it after a few days time. Jason’s parents were hesitant signing the donation sheet, but they knew if they didn’t Jason would have been disappointed. Four recipiants of his organs would be survivors, no matter what their story was. A few months after the accident, Jason’s parents received a chance to meet the people that gained the organs from their son. Every single one of them agreed that meeting his parents was the most touching thing that they had ever done ( Ray of Hope).

Jason will forever be in the hearts of many for the way he saved so many lives with the seriousness of his answer. He is not the only one though. Every organ donor means the world to someone that they are not even aware of. In their heart they feel as though they have known them forever, even though they have never even met. So as you are are on your way to get your license, please consider the possibilities. Think about how if all the sudden, life is pulled right out from under you, you might be able to help at least one more person. As you walk in the door and your on your way to the front desk, think of all the people in desperate need of life and hope. When they challenge you with the question, will you reply with yes or no?

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