April is Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month
Dr. Joanmarie Pellegrini, MD
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The gift of life is a precious act of generosity as individuals who make provisions to donate their organs enable others to live. Across the nation, the month April, symbolizing the awakening of spring and renewal of life, is designated as Donate Life Month.
Every day the waiting list for organs grows because there are more people in need of life-saving organ transplants than there are organs available. As an individual, you can help in several ways to reverse this statistic.
The first way is to educate yourself about the need for organs and about the donation process. There are still too many people who remain either uninformed or misinformed about the process of donation or about who may be considered an acceptable organ donor. The most helpful internet source of information is www.donatelife.net. This site will give accurate statistics and dispel myths.
The second thing you can do is register to become a potential organ donor. You can do this on line or you can do this through your driver’s license. At the same time you will need to discuss your wishes with your family and loved ones. You may even prompt them to consider becoming a potential organ donor. Do not assume that you are too old, too young, too ill, etc to become a donor. Your organs and tissues may still help save lives.
The next thing you can do, and this is perhaps the hardest for some people, is talk to your friends and coworkers about donation if the topic comes up. If you are now educated and have thought about this topic, you may be able to help clarify some misunderstandings or misconceptions.
I have been asked by friends and family about the tree with green lights in front of the hospital. As part of EMMC’s observance of this month, the organ donation tree in the front of the medical center has been decorated with green lights celebrating the generous act organ donation. The tree was planted in honor of those who donated organs and tissues, and the professionals who have supported the process. The tree was donated by Mary Ellen Pederson of the New England Organ Bank. Eastern Maine Medical Center works in close collaboration with the New England Organ Bank. The commemorative stone marker was donated by Gene and Kay Boynton.
The Donate Life flag will fly from a flag pole behind the tree for the entire month of April. This flag is being flown this month at all hospitals in the state of Maine. After April, when there is a donor at EMMC, the flag will be flown to honor the donor and their family.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss organ and tissue donation with a medical professional, you may feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.