Skip Nav
Healthy Recipes
32 Vegan Lunches You Can Take to Work
Healthy Recipes
18 Whole30 Dinners You'll Make Well After Your Diet Ends
Is Honey Vegan? We Know You Were Wondering, So We Investigated

The Importance of Being an Organ Donor

Are You an Organ Donor?

This might not be the sunniest of topics, but after reading the stories of hope that can accompany tragic accidents recently in the New York Times, I believe organ donation is certainly a topic worthy of discussion. I am not alone — Katherine Heigl is with me on this. After her older brother died in an automobile accident, Heigl's parents opted to donate their son's organs: his heart and kidneys saved the lives of three people, and his corneas gave sight to two others. In many of these generous tales, the act of donating organs helps the surviving family members make sense of a death of a loved one. It helps life to go on, literally.

In California, you can commit to the process by checking the organ donor box when you apply for your driver license. That's what I did — it was an easy decision. My neighbors growing up were both kidney transplant specialists, and the couple taught me that organ donation was a generous act and an act of life. Simply telling your loved ones that you would like to be an organ donor is a great place to start. You can learn more at the Donate Life website.

Tell me . . .

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
That's why Obama is trying to pass laws to make health care available for everyone, although many people don't want it. It's funny that you say that because I don't qualify for free health care because I'm not poor enough, Hispanic, or illegal. I've been without insurance for a while. Also, I've known many people who got those Pamplets for cancer WITH insurance. People die of cancer with insurance all the time (I've known at least 3). I absolutely think everyone should have access to health care, we absolutely agree on that one. It's absolutely your right to choose, I'm leaning towards not donating for my own reasons. I'm not trying to hassle you for deciding not to donate, just trying to point out that for all you know, your organs could save a 20 year old woman with a bright future ahead, not just a "rich white man." You forgot to mention that someone on death row could get your organs too. Ugh.
Berzerker Berzerker 7 years
You missed the point entirely; If you have no health insurance, you are at the bottom of the ladder. A good friend of mine died a painful death from skin cancer, which could have been prevented if he had insurance: Instead, they sent him out the door with "So you are going to die" Pamphlets. Until the day comes to where we are all given equal medical care, an equal chance regardless of "Social status" (as you put it) I will not give my organs to a society that didn't care for me (or my friend) while alive. It is everyone's individual right to choose whether or not they wish to donate, and I resent being backed into a corner because I don't agree with the majority. Let's just say it's my final "Don't tread on me" to the world to say "no".
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
Can you show me proof that white males with money are a priority because of their gender, race, and social status? There are so many things to take into consideration, it's not as simple as saying "white males are the top priority" because they have them the most. First, in the US, white is the majority, so it makes sense that white males would get more. Men have a greater risk of heart failure than women. Should the hearts be distributed out equally by race/gender/social status rather than who needs them most/first? "Patients who are eligible for a heart transplant are placed on a waiting list for a donor heart. This waiting list is part of a national allocation system for donor organs run by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). OPTN has policies in place to make sure donor hearts are given out fairly. These policies are based on urgency of need, the organs that are available for transplant, and the location of the patient who is receiving the heart (the recipient). Organs are matched for blood type and size of donor and recipient. " Plus, organ donation is more than just the heart, I've known a few non-'white males' (personally) who have lived because of organ donation. Kidney and Liver lead over heart transplantation too.
Berzerker Berzerker 7 years
Check your stats: White males with money are top priority, where as a poor yet healthy girl like myself is more valuable dead than alive; They would unzip me like a parka, rip the organs out of me, and cash in. People need to start taking a stand, so maybe the fat cat bureaucrats in Washington will listen when they find out the common man is longer their cash cow. It's my right if I want to donate my organs or not, I will not succumb to your peer pressure propaganda.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
Most people who get open heart surgery are not rich, being lucky enough to have insurance doesn't make someone rich (although I don't think luck has anything to do with it, my Dad works 10+ hr days, 7 days a week and pays hundreds a month for insurance). Some people who get a new heart have genetic conditions or may have been in an accident themselves. It's not about the government at all, it's about the family who gets to have their Grandpa, Grandma, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Daughter, Son, whatever around for many more years. I don't see how denying being an organ donor would help with the universal healthcare issue.
Berzerker Berzerker 7 years
Hell no! Here's the way I see it: I have no health insurance, and yet some rich fat-cat whom probably had a heart attack under a hooker may someday get my heart, even though I took damn good care of myself while alive? Not until we have universal healthcare; Not until I am able to see a doctor free of charge. Why should the government get free use of my body once I'm dead, yet wouldn't help me while I was alive? Screw that. I think if more people took a stand like this, maybe we could all see a doctor.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Yes yes yes!
itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 7 years
my dad was a live kidney donor for my mum, which was a pretty amazing experience. while it wasn't a matter of life or death, her quality of life is much higher than when she had to endure 3.5 hour dialysis treatments 3 times a week. i have had the donor sticker on my driver's license since i was 16. if i don't need the organs, why not let someone else use them?
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
I have a legit reason for not wanting to donate my organs though, it's not "weird" to me. I am also one of those people who doesn't give blood. I shouldn't have to justify it, but needles give me full blown panic attacks (I suffer from anxiety).
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
It makes me a little sad too when people say they aren't because they think it's weird or something like that. Same goes for people who don't donate blood because they're afraid of needles. Come on.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
I'm a donor for any/all my organs only; not my cadaver. I took physiology in college and the lack of respect that some of my fellow students showed for their cadaver still bothers me. My husband is not. He knows; my family and friends and I have the paperwork to back it up so hopefully if is comes to it he will honor my wishes.
danaruth danaruth 7 years
I've been an organ donor since I got my first driver's license at 17. My husband and family know my wishes: give away whatever parts are still any good to anyone, and cremate the rest. What a way to go out on a karmic high note! I believe God will gladly make a new eye or kidney or whatever, if I need it, in Heaven.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
As important as a license may be, like many have mentioned a living will and advance directive are more important. No matter how young talk to your family and have these papers drafted and signed properly. Not just for organ donation but also for dire situations, if you do or do not want to stay in a vegetative state. For those who worry about many misconceptions mentioned (like doctors not trying to keep them alive) just research. Many times doctors do not know if a patient is an organ donor until after the fact. Being uneducated is often a reason people say no.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I absolutely am. I know a woman who got the pancreas and kidney of a teenager who got killed in a car crash. That boy not only saver her life, his heart, liver, eyes, other kidney, and skin went to help 4 or 5 other people. To me, that's pretty amazing.
nikkisoda nikkisoda 7 years
Yes I am. My Dad had a successful liver transplant earlier this year. He had a live donor, my wonderful Aunt/his Sister, they took 70% of her liver and gave it too my Dad. Her liver grew back and my Dad's body adapted well to her liver. Success! I wanted to be the match for him but I am not close enough to his height.
2muchtv 2muchtv 7 years
3/4 in my family are organ donors. My dad refuses because he thinks doctors won't work as hard to keep him alive, but he's totally for organ donation. I'm confused, if everyone in your family is OK with donating your organs, is there a need to register?
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
Oh, it says that in the post! :oops: That's what I get for skipping straight down to comment.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
You can go to this website to register if anywhere else in the U.S.:
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
Yup, I am. I'm also registered with Donate Life California, which will ensure my wishes will be carried out no matter what my family says, or what my drivers license says.
foxie foxie 7 years
Of course. Being "creeped out" is no good reason to let one or several people on the 108,000+ long waiting list die. Most religions condone organ donation these days, including Mormonism and Islam. So that really shouldn't be an excuse for many people.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
Absolutely. Once you're gone, your body is a shell - why not save somebody who still has a chance? It's not like I'll feel it and open casket funerals creep me the hell out, so when I go, no funeral for me - I don't want to subject other people to that! Cremate me and send me down the beach on a breeze. We did that for my aunt just this last weekend and it was a beautiful and closing experience, not like the cry-until-I-blow-a-capillary, all-in-black, please-don't-try-to-convince-me-to-look-at-the-body funerals I've been to in the past.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
Actually I'm with Danakscully on this one. I know it's a great thing, but I couldn't imagine my body being cut up. Idk, it's a weird feeling. I'm sure once I get older it will change.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 7 years
I am an organ donor and am happy to be one, but Danakscully64, that's a really interesting point. I've actually never thought of that.
Vegan Lunches You Can Take to Work
Emotional Hunger vs. Physical Hunger
Calories in Nuts
Husband's Body-Positive Message to His Curvy Wife
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds