Do you ever look for ways to be life-giving in your interactions with others? Things like providing a genuine compliment, hugging your kids for no reason other than you love them, helping a friend through a difficult situation...Often, those life-giving moments are spontaneous, automatic, and done without expectation for repayment. After all, they're not only life-giving to the recipient but to the giver as well.
A friend's father recently experienced one of those life-giving moments. A complete stranger's gift was not only life-giving but gave life. He received an organ transplant. A perfect stranger saw the opportunity to continue those life-giving moments, even after his or her life-breathing moments had ceased.
Another friend has a beautiful 2 year old daughter whose kidneys are rapidly deteriorating. Barring a miracle, she will need a transplant within the year. This bundle of joy has not made poor lifestyle choices, abused her body with alcohol, or ruined her pancreas with unhealthy eating. She just got sick. Without a transplant, she will die from the same disease that stole her older sister's life.
100,000,000 people in the United States have chosen to give life after death. A single donor can save up to 8 lives. Talk about life-giving! While 79 people in the U.S. receive organ transplants every day, another 18 die waiting.
Organ donation is altruistic - there's nothing the donor receives for the gift, as they've passed from this life to the next. It's a gift with no reciprocation; it's anonymous; and it's literally life-giving.
Choosing to be an organ donor is a deeply personal issue. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has put together an informative website that exhaustively explores the many things to consider, understand, and evaluate as you consider giving life. Once you decide to become an organ donor, register in your state so that your wishes will be known no matter the circumstances. In Michigan, visit the Secretary of State's Organ Donor page to register.
If you haven't given much thought to organ donation, I'd encourage you to do a little research and come to a place where you can make an informed decision. Who knows? Perhaps someday, you'll be the recipient of a life-giving gift of life.
Written by: Heather Doering