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April is National Donate Life Month. National Donate Life Month,
established by the United States Division of Transplantation in 2003,
acknowledges and celebrates everyone who helps save and improve the lives
of others through organ donation.
“The most important decision one can make in honor of National Donate
Life Month is to become a donor. The gift of life is the greatest gift one
can give” said Suzanne Luraas, President of Kidney Swap, an organization
that allows those in need of an organ donor to take a proactive approach to
finding a compatible donor.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in the United
States roughly 63 people receive an organ transplant daily. Although
hundreds of thousands of people have already provided the gift of life
through a commitment to organ donation, there is still a great need. In the
United States over 84,000 people are currently waiting for an organ donor.
Approximately 70,000 of those are waiting for a kidney, and about 16 people
die every year on the waiting list.
Those waiting for a kidney donor have even more to celebrate this month.
In March of last year the House of Representatives unanimously approved the
“Charlie W. Norwood Living Organ Donation Act,” which made paired kidney
exchange, also known as kidney swapping, technically legal in the United
States. This law will specify that paired kidney exchanges do not violate
laws against receiving compensation for trading organs. One study found
that under this new legislation the number of live donor kidney transplants
could increase by 14 percent. Please visit Kidney Swap at
wwww.onlinekidneyswap.com for more information on paired kidney exchanges.
This month why not celebrate National Donate Life Month by making the
decision to become an organ donor? We can make a difference. One donor
can help over fifty people. The first step, aside from signing a donor card
or marking organ donor on your driver’s license, is to talk about your
decision with your family. Once they are aware of your wishes, they are
more likely to consent to donation.