Yesterday, Donate Life Illinois was at Joliet Junior College’s Volunteer Fair, spreading the word about the state’s new organ/tissue donor registry. It was amazing to have four different individuals come up to our booth to share their personal tie to the issue. Interstingly enough, one of these individuals was an older gentleman who was a cornea recipient. When asked whether he had re-registered post Jan. 1, 2006 and joined the new registry, he was quick to decline, stating that he was already a recipient and thus could not be a donor.
I’m always intrigued by folks that are quick to discount themselves as potential donors based on their own self assessment – mostly because it opens a wide door to educate others. The reality is that your eligibility as a donor will be determined by transplant doctors if you are found suitable for donation. Thus, no one, regardless, should discount themselves as not being “eligible” as a donor. Technology and the transplant field alone are changing so rapidly, that it’s tough to say whether or not you will be an eligible donor if and when the time comes.
Yesterday, the Rockford Register-Star ran this excellent feature on Beth Bailes and her son Joshua Moroney, who passed away from a heart attack in April 2003, at the age of 20. Joshua had received a part of an 18-year old donor’s heart who was killed in a motorcycle accident. His own involvement as a recipient had motivated Joshua to register as a donor and when he passed away, he was able to save two other lives by donating his corneas, veins and tissue.
Wow. That’s the power of donation and truly a testament that if you feel strongly about organ/tissue donation being the right thing to do (as 90% of Illinois residents do!), you should take a moment to register.