Hiya! I just thought I’d let you know I finalllllyyyyy signed up to be an organ donor! I know you can be whatever age to register as an organ donor but for some reason, I thought you had to be over eighteen. And yes, I’m almost nineteen now and I should’ve registered ages ago but I completely forgot until maybe two months ago when I decided to register!
I thought I’d do a blog post about why it’s important to be an organ donor and debunking some of the established thoughts around being an organ donor!
First thing first, you do not have to be a live donor. One of the main reasons I hesitated becoming an organ donor was because I thought one day out of the blue, I would be forced to give up a kidney or part of my liver. That’s just not true. It’s a choice whether or not you want to be a live donor and no one makes that choice other than you. The risks from becoming a live organ donor are very slim so it’s nothing to worry about and if it’s something you are interested in doing, it’s very rewarding to know someone is going to live a better life with your help and support.
You choose what you want to donate when you’re dead. Now I don’t mean they speak to you from beyond the (not yet existent) grave, you simply just have to fill out a form when you apply to be an organ donor and tick what you want to donate. You can donate your kidneys, liver, heart, corneas, lungs, pancreas, small bowel and tissue – you don’t have to donate it all! There’s no shame in you wanting to keep your corneas or even your heart. You are choosing that you want to donate your organs and that’s much more than some people do.
Doctors will try to save your life if you have any close calls with death. I don’t know if this is a common thing people assume but I’ve heard it a couple times, where people say doctors will try a lot less to save your life if you’re in any close death situations. This isn’t true. Doctors work hard to try and save your life before they try and attempt saving someone else’s life. Just because you’re an organ donor doesn’t mean they’ll think, “Oh, it doesn’t matter about this person, if they die their organs will be put to use”.
Becoming an organ donor is super important because the demand for organs is so much greater than the supply. So many people die waiting for organs they so desperately need because so so many people need them and there just isn’t enough donations to go around. Becoming an organ donor can help save lifes. I know that sounds incredibly cliche but it’s true. If you choose to donate all the organs available than that’s potentially 9+ lives being saved just from one body alone.
For organ donor recipients, it may mean a fresh start in life. Someone who is a recovered alcoholic who previously had a failing liver, has a second chance at living just from a liver being donated. Someone who has weak lungs, may be able to have fully functioning lungs and can breathe without assistance again. It’s truly amazing what donating your organs does for the recipients.
Losing a loved one is hard. But many families take comfort in knowing their loved ones organs and body is being used for the better. The fact that their loss of a loved one is helping someone have a much better life may help them grieve.
Here are some stories of people who have thrived from organ donations:
- Emily, 6, liver transplant
- Matthew, 11, kidney transplant
- Katie, 27, kidney transplant
- Rhys, 11, heart transplant
If you have read this blog post, and your mind is completely changed about organ donation, here is the link to register. (uk only) It takes less than two minutes to register, it’s really that simple!