Organ Donors Give Precious Gift

Two-and-a-half year old Luke Savage is a daily reminder of the precious gift of organ donation.

Luke was born with a condition that enlarged his heart - and it kept growing. Doctors told his parents, Kim and Darrel, that his only chance for survival was a heart transplant.

The Savages aren't alone. This year, the Midwest Transplant Organization says more than 37,000 Americans will be put on a waiting list for a transplant.

Ginny Woods, RN, Stormont-Vail organ procurement coordinator, says the need for donor is increasing. She says kidney failure is on the rise with the increase in diabetes. She says heart failure and liver failure are also on the rise. Plus, she says people are more willing to consider a transplant than they were 20 years ago due to advances in techniques and medications.

Woods says the biggest obstacle to donation is misconceptions about what's involved and how a donor will be treated. She says Stormont-Vail does a lot of education with prospective donor families. She says they stress that the decision is ultimately their's. She says they also explain that treatment does continue for prospective donors. If harvesting of organs becomes the ultimate results, she says it is done with the utmost care and respect.

The time to think about becoming a donor is before a traumatic event happens. Woods says a signature on a driver's license is not recognized as consent in Kansas. That's why people willing to become donors must share their decision with their family, so that the family can voice those wishes should the time come.

If all possible organs and tissues are used, Woods says one donor can help up to 50 people. Still, an average 17 people die every day waiting for a transplant.

Luckily for the Savages, Luke was not one of them.

Kim Savage says the hardest part was knowing another child would have to die for Luke to live. She says they are so grateful for the gift the donor family was willing to give.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently recognized Stormont for its 96-percent consent rate from eligible donors.

Run for Life
You can support organ and tissue donation by participating in the Run for Life, April 4, at Washburn University. Choose a two mile or ten mile route. Relay teams also are welcome. Registration is $30 with money benefiting the Topeka Organ Transplant Organization. Race-day registration is accepted at the Petro Allied Health Center. The run begins at 8:30 am. A Junior Run for Life will be held April 3 at 6:30 pm.

Further information is at the link below.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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