Giving Thanks with the Gift of Life
The Thanksgiving season is often a time of reflection, gratitude or opportunities to provide meals to those in need. But, have you thought about giving the gift of life? I would like to encourage you to do just that by registering as an organ and tissue donor. Not only is it the right thing to do, it is simple, and I challenge The Volunteer State to take just a minute and register.
The impact of one organ and tissue donor is astounding. A single person can save as many as eight lives through organ donation, which includes donation of the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestine. Extraordinarily, that same person can also better the lives of over 50 others through tissue donation that can go onto heal those suffering from burn wounds, replace and reconstruct joints, and promote healing in post-mastectomy breast reconstruction and cleft palate repairs.
Annually, 1 million people in the US benefit from lifesaving and life healing organ and tissue transplants. Almost 350 Tennesseans gave the gift of life in 2016, saving 908 lives. However, only 38 percent of eligible Tennesseans are registered as organ and tissue donors. This is considerably below the national average of 54 percent. Think of the difference we could make if all of us do our part!
Today, more than 118,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, with nearly 3,000 in Tennessee alone. Another name is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. On average, 20 of these people will die every day in the United States, still waiting for a transplant. It is vital that we register to give these individuals a second chance at life. They and their families are desperate for our help.
This holiday season, let’s close the donation gap in Tennessee. Please pick up your laptop or mobile device right now and go online to DonateLifeTN.org to register. You can even specify which organs and tissues you would be willing to donate after you die.
You also can register at the Tennessee Department of Safety when applying for, renewing, or updating a state driver’s license. After simply saying “yes” to donation at the Department of Safety, you can then go online to DonateLifeTN.org if you’d like to be more specific about which organs and tissues you want to give.
This Thanksgiving season show gratitude for your many gifts, give to those who are less fortunate, and give the gift that not only keeps on giving, but keeps on living.