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Donating Life: Organ Donation and the Meaning it Holds

Hannah Holladay, Contributor

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“Would you like to be an organ donor?”

Thousands of high school teenagers receiving their driving permits and licenses are asked this simple question. However, the implications behind the decision to become an organ donor are far more meaningful than a simple answer, “yes.”

According to the National Foundation for Transplants, 22 people die each day while waiting to receive an organ transplant. It is a staggering statistic, and one that can be reduced by educating individuals on their options for donation and what it means to donate.

I chose to become an organ donor when I got my driving permit three years ago, because organ donation holds a very personal meaning to me. My cousin, Lauren Gorham, passed away as the result of a car accident in 2003. She was only 15 years old.

Although her death was a devastating experience for her family, Gorham was able to save four lives because of her decision to become an organ donor. One of the individuals her organs helped save was a quadruple recipient who had four children. It is stories like these, of people who are able to get a second chance at life, that makes being a donor so important to me.

This past summer, the Donate Life Transplant Games of America took place in Cleveland, Ohio. The Games allow athletes to compete who have undergone transplant surgeries or are living donors (Transplant Games of America). Gorham’s father, Greg Gorham, represented his daughter in the games and helped raise awareness for the importance of organ donation and the impact it can have.

One organ donor alone has the ability to save up to eight lives and potentially impact up to 50 lives (National Foundation for Transplants). With so many driving-age students going through the process of getting licenses and choosing whether or not to donate, the need to understand the true meaning behind donation is stronger than ever. Undoubtedly, it is a major decision, and one that is not necessarily right for everyone. But for me, it is a decision that I know has the power to change countless lives, and a decision that I am proud to have made.

For additional information on organ donation and to officially register as an organ donor, visit these sites.
www.donatelife.net
www.transplants.org

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