February 14th is Valentine’s Day. But it’s also National Donor Day.
Started in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation and United Auto Workers in cooperation with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), this annual event is focused on five points of life: organs, tissues, marrow, platelets and blood. All of these can be donated to help save and/or improve the lives of others.
Here are a few numbers that help underscore the need:
- 112,945 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant
- 18 people will die each day while waiting for a new organ
- 1 organ donor can save up to eight lives
Does your driver’s license indicate that you’re a donor? If not, and you want to give others a second chance at life, sign up to be a donor today. Worried you’re too old? Don’t be. The condition of your organs is more important than your age, and there are only a few absolute exclusions (such as HIV infection, active cancer and systemic infection). So don’t rule yourself out when there’s a chance you could help.
Finally, there is a particular need for minority donors. While organs are not matched according to race/ethnicity, there is a greater likelihood that compatible blood types and tissue markers – the critical elements of the matching process – will be found among members of the same ethnicity. Thus, a greater diversity of donors could potentially increase access to transplantation for everyone.
Are you awaiting an organ transplant – or the recipient of one? Join PatientsLikeMe to connect with others like you. We have hundreds of transplant patients among our members, including those with (or awaiting) a heart transplant, kidney transplant, liver transplant, lung transplant and pancreas transplant. What’s it like to go through transplantation? Read our recent interview with kidney transplant recipient and type 1 diabetes patient Michael Burke.