You could donate the ultimate gift

April 06, 2018 | by Mary Lou Mastro

You have the power to make a miracle happen in someone else’s life.

Actually, when you agree to be an organ donor you will likely save more than one person’s life.

According to Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, one donor can save or enhance at least 25 lives.

April, National Donate Life Month, is the perfect time to register if you haven’t already.

I have been a registered organ donor for a long time. It’s pretty incredible to think that I could make a difference in other people’s lives in such a significant way.

When I worked as a nurse in an intensive care unit, we did kidney transplants. Watching those patients go from several days of dialysis each week to the freedom to live with a healthy, new kidney was truly miraculous.

There is a blog on our website about an Edward Hospital staff member whose teenage son was fatally injured and became an organ donor. Jill Zuleg’s son, Kyle, saved five people with his donation.

As of Jan. 1, anyone age 16 and older can join the organ and tissue donation registry under the new Drive for Life Act. While 16 and 17-year-olds can make their wishes to be donors public by registering, their parents or guardians would make the ultimate decision.

Gift of Hope coordinates organ and tissue donation for 183 hospitals in Illinois and Indiana. They also do their best to spread the word about the reasons to become a donor.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who need transplants.

In Illinois, more than 4,600 people are waiting for an organ transplant. Every year, 300 people in Illinois die waiting.

You don’t have to be young to be a donor. You don’t even have to be in perfect health. Get answers to frequently asked questions about organ donation on Gift of Hope’s website.

Being an organ donor also helps your loved ones cope with their loss. It gives them something to hold on to while you give the gift of life to another person.

It’s easy to register to be an organ or tissue donor. Please consider becoming a donor, as your gift could mean the world to someone else.

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