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The time to have the conversation is now: April is National Organ Donor Awareness Month

By Cory Garwacki
On April 11, 2013

While most of us think of April as the nearing of the close of yet another semester of classes, we should also be reminded of how precious life can be, especially since April is recognized as National Organ Donor Awareness Month.

There is no greater gift that one person can give to another (or several people) than the gift of life, even after theirs has ended. As tough a conversation as it may be, even for us as college students, it is one that is so important to have.

As we all know, it takes just minutes to renew your license and at the same time have it marked that an individual is registered as an organ donor. But, actually there is a common misconception here. Even though you may have indicated your wishes on your license, when the time comes for this decision to be made, it is ultimately up to your family to make the final call, not simply an indication on your license.

According to Donate Life New England (, a non-profit organization comprised of three federally designated organ procurement organizations that serve New England, New England Organ Bank, LifeChoice Donor Services, and The Center for Donation and Transplant and the Connecticut Eye Bank, there are currently "more than 110,000 men, women, and children in the United States waiting for a life-saving transplant."

As if that statistic isn't staggering enough, consider the equally eye-opening fact that each day, an average of 18 people die while waiting for this second chance at life.

Virtually any organ or tissue from our bodies can be considered for transplantation, including but not limited to kidney, heart, liver, lung, intestine, eye, pancreas, and bone marrow. While the majority of organ transplants come from deceased individuals, it is becoming increasingly more commonplace for living-donor operations to occur, provided both parties are matches for blood type and other matters. The most common living donor transplants are kidneys.

Each state in our nation has its own organ donor registry, which is how you are entered if you declare to become one on your license, however as stated earlier, if you do not make clear your wishes to your family members, they can override what your license says in the event that tragedy strikes.

According to, "Even if you are a registered donor, it is essential that your family know your wishes. Your family may be asked to sign a consent form in order for your donation to occur."

If for no other reason than to ensure that you do one final noble deed before you leave this Earth, please have this vital conversation with your family now, for if you wait, you may never get that chance.

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