According to Gift of Life Michigan, more than 3,200 Michiganders are currently waiting and hoping for a life-saving organ transplant. That number doesn’t include the thousands of others in the state who would find relief from pain or gain the ability to see through a tissue donation. And throughout the country, there are more than 122,000 people currently needing a donation—a number that continues to increase every month.
But while the need is staggering, signing up to help couldn’t be easier.
While you’re still alive, you can donate blood (find a blood drive here) and register to donate bone marrow. You can also donate organs like your kidney or part of your liver. Those types of donations are pretty involved though, so make sure you understand all of the expectations if you do end up matching with someone.
It’s also important to think about allowing doctors to use certain body parts once you die. By doing so, you could save and improve the lives of up to 50 people. That’s because one person can donate their heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, intestines, cornea, skin, heart valves, bone, blood vessels and connective tissue. The most important thing is that you have to register (if you’re under 18, you need a parent or guardian’s consent). It’s an easy process and you can do so here. Even people who have had previous medical conditions can donate–don’t just assume you aren’t a good candidate.
In addition to registering, make sure that the fact that you’re a donor is noted on your driver’s license. (MI licenses flag it with a red heart.) Also, talk to your family about your decision. If the situation arises, they’ll be your best advocates and may be asked to sign a final consent form at the time of donation.
Photo credit: MTSOfan