According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the nonprofit organization that maintains the nation’s organ transplant database, more than 123,000 people currently are awaiting lifesaving organ transplants. Each one is waiting for a chance to live.
Until the day when there are enough donor organs, thousands of patients awaiting transplants and their families, friends and colleagues will continue, every day, to hear the words, “not yet.” Their need is our challenge, and we can meet this challenge by saying yes to donation and helping to eliminate the wait. Consider for a moment what that means.
We’ve all waited in line to see a movie. We’ve waited for our name to be called at the coffee shop. We’ve drummed our fingers on the wheel during rush hour, waiting to inch our way toward the traffic light. We lose patience when it takes more than a few seconds for an app to load. Waiting is time spent in between other things. It is the limbo of “not yet.”
Each patient waiting for an organ transplant faces a day-by-day struggle for survival, a week-to-week effort to maintain some semblance of what the rest of us take for granted. Waiting to them might mean six hours of being attached to a dialysis machine, three times a week. Or it may mean being out of breath — always.
The limited supply of donated organs is not meeting the enormous demand for them — roughly 22 people die each day while waiting — but there is something we all can do about it. We can donate life! On average, one organ and tissue donor can help as many as 50 people. One donor can keep a family together. One donor can give a child his or her first real, play-filled summer. One donor can make it possible for someone to take his or her grandchildren fishing.
Documenting your decision to become an organ donor has never been easier. Visit Florida’s donor registry at DonateLifeFlorida.org to learn the facts and join the registry. Taking a couple of minutes out of your morning may someday save another person’s life. What greater legacy can we leave behind than to have given the gift of life?