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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So NOW I'm An Organ Donor. How About You?

I've always resisted the call to become a donor as it makes me think about my own mortality. It seem so finite... I tried to find religious reasoning why I shouldn't donate, but instead ended with empty excuses. My husband would always belabor the point "If someone you loved needed an organ wouldn't you want them to receive an organ?" (Scowl - 'easy for him to say... he's diabetic, he can't donate'). Well, "HECK YEAH!" I would reply! "There is nothing to think about if it would help save their life!" SO, then why am I holding out? Couple that with the fact that not many of my folk donate.. so the chances a love one receiving life is lowered. Yes, I believe in miracles, and I also believe in free-will. SO "Why wasn't I willing to give life?"

I remember when I traveled south for a visit, I met a family member who was actively educating & signing up folk for tissue donation. We talked about my inhibition.... To me donation meant:

Certain death (as if...)
Black market sales ( know you got those emails too)
Little medical help (once 'they' knew)
Closed casket funeral (perish the thought)

This relative assured me the 1st three were overblown urban myths.. (or ignorance, if you will) and the the 4th concern could still happen. The body would be prepared in a way that viewers wouldn't know there had been a donation. Well that was a weight lifted off my shoulder. Many of you with southern roots know.... We take pictures of the decease and darn near jump in the casket with the dead. It's part of our rite of passage (like the Electric Slide)! I come from a long line of open casket funerals. I know, It's really for us~the living~but it allows us to get in our last good byes...

Anywho, while renewing my license I told the clerk to check the box.. I still couldn't do it myself... but It is official, I'm a donor... and I feel good about it... I really do! Are you?


ETA (Edited to add): I stand corrected, both my husband & comment poster Becky have told me that one CAN donate organs if they are diabetics. For more info on organ donation please go to:

Also, comment poster, Dave, recommends that Organ Donors register with In a gist - Donors can get attention opposed to waiting behind non donors. A sentiment that can be argued.. but surely makes you think "hmmmm.. now that's an idea to ponder...."


Sher said...

Good for you! I'm proud of you! I signed up to be a donor back when I was 20-something, after I read about a teen whose life was saved by a donor. Bone marrow donors are needed, too (and you can still be alive for that one!), especially for minorities. I thought I'd be called right away for that one but apparently I'm so much of a minority I didn't match anyone.
I'm diabetic now, too, like your hubby - but didn't know that stops us from being organ donors. I should have known, since I can no longer give blood.

NJTomboy said...

Hi Sher,
My husband just told me, (that he was told) He could be a donor... So he did sign up.. and he is type 1!

You are right about the bone marrow. I am a universal donor, so perhaps it would be good for me to get on the registry. I will look into it this week... hemmmm maybe today!

Dave said...

Over half of the 99,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Becky said...

Good for you! Thanks for making such a generous decision that will save and enhance lives.

Just a quick point - people who have diabetes and other medical conditions CAN donate their organs and tissues, even if they are not able to donate blood. You can find more information about donation at

NJTomboy said...

Thanks Dave - you make great points. It's sort of like the whole issue surrounding folks who can but refuse to evacuate during a major storm.. but hinder the restore/cleanup effort when have to get rescued... It definitely gives cause to pause....

Hi Becky.. yes, my husband did tell me that later... I mentioned in comment - but I will up date the blog post as well.... I don't want wrong info to be out there...

Vintage Sue said...

You betcha! Ever since I got my license (29 years ago). Thanks for bringing this to a larger audience!