Our story this week highlighting a conference held by the New England Donor Services left us with a couple of resounding thoughts, but the biggest takeaway was that Rhode Islanders should not be …
Our story this week highlighting a conference held by the New England Donor Services left us with a couple of resounding thoughts, but the biggest takeaway was that Rhode Islanders should not be satisfied being last in the region in terms of the number of people who sign up as organ donors.
Even if you do not have a personal example of a loved one who has faced certain death or sadly succumbed to a disease while waiting for (or ultimately not receiving) a vital organ transplant, it isn’t difficult to imagine how such a fate could happen to any one of us, and how drastically our perspective on the issue would shift if we found ourselves in such a predicament.
Despite the fact that 95 percent of organ donors opt into the practice through license registrations or renewals, only 45 percent of Rhode Island drivers are actually opted in. While we are sure that some small percentage of people have religious beliefs or customs that preclude them from donating organs, it would seem highly unlikely that 55% of Rhode Islanders of driving age have some deeply rooted fundamental opposition preventing them from completing a free, hassle-free process that requires nothing more than checking a box on a DMV form.
We find it much more likely that the lack of organ donors in Rhode Island can be attributed to a lack of awareness about how useful being an organ donor actually can be. Certainly, it is a morbid thing to conceive of during a run-of-the-mill week while completing a task as banal as renewing your license, however it is worth thinking of all the same.
Every organ donor, on average, can save three lives (and as many as eight), utilizing many different functioning organs that — forgive us for being blunt — you won’t be needing once you have passed on. Rather than have those organs be pumped full of preserving fluids during the embalming process (like happens during traditional burials), why not provide a child, a mother, a grandfather, or anyone else who may need one of those organs, the chance to continue to live and thrive thanks to your forward-thinking decision?
In a kind of abstract and beautiful way, becoming an organ donor actually also provides the opportunity for a small part of you to live on in another person; be that a relative, friend, or even someone you have never met who will for the rest of their life honor your memory through a sense of unparalleled gratitude.
Finding the perfect gift can be difficult this time of year, but this particular gift can mean more than any others, and it comes at absolutely no cost to you.
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