February 14th is National Organ Donor Day.
Shared with another holiday – something to do with hearts, flowers and chocolate kind of rings a bell – National Organ Donor Day is a day to focus on life and spread the word about the need for organ donation. If you’re already an organ donor, why not encourage someone else to be one? Also, a good day to make sure your loved ones know your wishes.
How to Decide If You Should Be an Organ Donor
Being an organ donor means that you consent to your organs and tissues being given to someone else after your death. The general consensus in my unofficial poll (I surveyed my friends on social media) was “I can’t take it with me, so why not?”
Most people I asked expressed wanting to help others after they’re gone. My friend and best-selling author Kay Bratt captured it perfectly:
“I’ve spent my entire life trying to help others and that will be my last gesture in that endeavor.”
Reasons to Become an Organ Donor
This is a pretty simple answer: You can save a life or vastly improve someone’s quality of life by donating your organs. The list of people waiting for organs continues to grow. One organ donor can help multiple people.
Being an organ donor can potentially help a grieving family. Losing a loved one is never easy, but some may take comfort in the fact that their loved one helped save the lives of others.
It’s really stinking easy. The process will vary from state to state. Find yours here.
Reasons Not to Become an Organ Donor
Health concerns. Some people feel they’re not healthy enough to donate their organs or that they have an illness or condition that would prohibit them from becoming an organ donor.
Religious concerns. This is the most common reason I’ve heard in response to not being an organ donor.
The Mayo Clinic published an article refuting these two common reasons (plus some others) for not signing up to be organ donors. I’m certainly not here to argue with you about why you should be an organ donor if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, but I am suggesting you take the time to do a deeper dive into why your answer is no. You might find that what’s holding you back might not be quite what you think it is.
My daughter recently shared with me that she opted not to be an organ donor when she first filled out paperwork for her driver’s license. She said the idea freaked her out. She was just turning 16 and the idea of what would happen after her death was disturbing. I completely understand her feelings. Still, I wish she would have talked to me before checking the box.
Fast forward 10 years. Laura is now an organ donor because of popular television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Those shows portray the life-saving aspect of being an organ donor and she changed her position. Never discount the impact of television, y’all. It’s also an important conversation to have with your kids when they become drivers.
How to Become an Organ Donor
- Sign up at organdonor.com
- Sign up at your local driver’s license office/DMV
- Let your family know your wishes
- All of the above
You don’t know when or how you’re going to die. Like most people, I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on this. But sometimes, time is important. Having all your bases covered might give you the most opportunities to help someone else.
Maybe your February 14th is all about hearts and flowers and mushy stuff…and that’s OK. But it takes just a minute to sign up, if you aren’t already an organ donor, or to talk to someone you love about becoming an organ donor.