April is Donate Life Month

By Jon-Paul Croom,
president of WellStar North Fulton Hospital

Do you recall if you checked the box to become an organ donor the last time you renewed your driver’s license? If you don’t, I encourage you to pull out your license and check. If you are an organ donor you will have the word “Donor” and a small red heart in the lower right corner. If you are not a donor, and wish to become one, I will share a web link at the end of this article.
But first, let’s review a few facts about organ donation:

◗ Today, more than 116,000 Americans are on a waiting list for a transplant.
◗ Last year, over 33,000 received transplants, but about 8,000 died because they did not receive an organ in time.
◗ 80% of patients on the waiting list need a kidney.
◗ 12% of patients are waiting on a liver.
◗ A single tissue donor can help more than 75 people.
◗ More than 138 Million Americans are registered organ, tissue, and eye donors.
◗ Virtually everyone, regardless of past medical history, may qualify as a donor.
◗ There is no age limit to become a donor.
◗ Donors may be living (for kidney and liver donations) or deceased.

Becoming a donor can help many of our fellow Americans on the waiting list return to productive, normal lives. So, if you don’t have that little red heart on the bottom right corner of you license, you can easily register by going to this website: www.DonateLifeGeorgia.org/register.

On April 11 at 11:30 a.m. we will raise the Donate Life flag in honor of those who have given the gift of life through organ donation. If you would like to know more about Donate Life Month or about Georgia’s organ recovery organization, LifeLink of Georgia, please go to www.lifelinkfoundation.org. I believe this year’s campaign slogan, borrowed from the great Maya Angelou, encapsulates the true message of all of us who give this gift of life: “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”