A Registry to Save Lives

by Melissa Brunner

Be honest - how many things have you signed up for online? Do you get notifications from your favorites stores? Alerts about your favorite sports teams?

A new spot to sign up went live this week, and it's one I urge you to consider because it's one that could save a life.

My first contact with organ donation came when I was in third grade. My two-and-a-half year old cousin was killed in a farm accident, and I remember my family talking about how another little boy was able to live because he received my cousin's heart. Then, in high school, a student was hit by a truck while running. His family, too, donated his organs. The same decision came a year later from the family of a girl  who was killed in a car accident. 

We certainly don't want to think about being a position where our families will have decide whether or not to donate our organs, but it could happen and we never know when. You might think you've made your intentions known by having that bright orange sticker on your drivers license, however, until recently, it didn't hold any weight.

As of July 1, Kansas became a first-person consent state for organ donation. Now, when you get your drivers license and say you want to be an organ donor, it is legally binding. It can be a weight off your family's shoulders because they won't have to guess what you would have wanted. It's coupled with an online registry that launched just this week. If you're like me, you're a few years away from having your drivers license renewed and being able to get onto the registry that way. With the web site, you go to www.donatelifekansas.com, enter your personal information, designate any restrictions you might want and you're done!

The Midwest Transplant Network says that a new name is added to the national waiting list every 13 minutes. That's 103 people every day, 37,595 every year. On average, 18 people die each day waiting for an organ that doesn't come. The registry offers hope that more people will receive a wonderful, life-saving gift.


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