Save Lives: A Donor Sister's Story


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This presentation was a part of a USDA/APHIS Partnership for Life Event. April 7, 2011

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  • 1) Philanthropy & compassion @ a young age - choose to be a donor at 16 yrs of age with his first drivers license Forethought & planning @ a young age – talked to family about his decision, easier for my parents to support this decision Direct Donation – request 2 church members on the waiting list for kidneys be tested first, each was a match and each received a kidney from Carey
  • Includes both active and inactive waiting list patients
  • What keeps you from registering to be an organ donor? Select 3 volunteers
  • MYTH. The hospital staff won't work as hard to save my life. FACT. When you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life — not somebody else's. You'll be seen by a doctor whose specialty most closely matches your particular emergency. The doctor in charge of your care has nothing to do with transplantation.
  • MYTH. It is against my religion. FACT . Organ donation is consistent with the beliefs of most religions. This includes Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism. If you're unsure of or uncomfortable with your faith's position on donation, ask a member of your clergy.
  • MYTH. I'm under age 18 and too young to make this decision. FACT. That's true, in a legal sense. But your parents can authorize this decision. You can express to your parents your wish to donate, and your parents can give their consent knowing that it's what you wanted. Children, too, are in need of organ transplants, and they usually need organs smaller than those an adult can provide
  • MYTH. I'm not in the best of health/ too old and nobody would want my organs or tissues. FACT. Very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating organs and there's no defined cutoff age. Organs have been successfully transplanted from donors in their 80s. The decision to use an organ is based on strict medical criteria. Only medical professionals at the time of your death can determine whether your organs are suitable for transplantation
  • MYTH. An open-casket funeral isn't an option for people who have donated organs or tissues. FACT. Organ and tissue donation doesn't interfere with having an open-casket funeral. The donor's body is clothed for burial, so there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. For bone donation, a rod is inserted where bone is removed. With skin donation, a very thin layer of skin similar to a sunburn peel is taken from the donor's back. Because the donor is clothed and lying on his or her back in the casket, no one can see any difference.
  • MYTH. Rich and famous people go to the top of the list when they need a donor organ. FACT. The rich and famous aren't given priority when it comes to allocating organs. It may seem that way because of the amount of publicity generated when celebrities receive a transplant, but they are treated no differently from anyone else. In fact, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the organization responsible for maintaining the national organ transplant network, subjects all celebrity transplants to an internal audit to make sure the organ allocation was appropriate.
  • MYTH. I wouldn't be allowed to donate a kidney now, unless one of my family members is in need. FACT . While that used to be the case, it isn't any longer. Whether it's a distant family member, friend or complete stranger you want to help, you can donate a kidney through certain transplant centers. If you decide to become a living donor, you will undergo extensive questioning to ensure that you are aware of the risks and that your decision to donate isn't based on financial gain. You will also undergo testing to determine if your kidneys are in good shape and whether you can live a healthy life with just one kidney.
  • MYTH. My family will be charged. FACT . The organ donor's family is never charged for donating. The family is charged for the cost of all final efforts to save your life, and those costs are sometimes misinterpreted as costs related to organ donation. Costs for organ removal go to the transplant recipient.
  • REGISTER to become an organ donor at your local DMV or securely online at DISCUSS your decision with your family and friends (you may inspire others to become organ donors too)
  • Save Lives: A Donor Sister's Story

    2. 2. What is organ donation?
    3. 3. “I’m not gonna need ‘em when I’m dead.”At the age of 16, my brother made asimple but profound decision that all toosoon came to affect a vast circle of peoplein ways they could not have imagined.  Iwill never forget his excitement as hereached into his wallet to pull out hisbrand new driver’s license.  He was soproud, taking the time to walk methrough each element as if I’d never seenone before.  He was like that; charismatic,easy-going with an infectious sense ofhumor.  He pointed to the big heartindicating that he was an organ donor. “You’re an organ donor?” I interrogated. “Yeah…I’m not gonna need ‘em whenI’m dead,” he replied in a matter-of-factkind of manner.  Such a simple phrase toencompass a basic concept.  Yet theimplications, the influence, the ultimateimpact was in no way simple or basic. Needless-to-say, I never forgot thosewords.  Little did I know, just five shortyears later, they would serve as thecatalyst for my brother’s incrediblelegacy.
    4. 4. We could fill FedEx field to capacity and not haveenough seats for the more than 100,000 individualscurrently waiting for organ transplantation.…and each day 18 people die as they wait.
    5. 5. What organs can be donated?
    6. 6. Just how many people are waiting for these organs? on November 8, 2010
    7. 7. Every 11 minutes, another name is added to this waiting list.
    8. 8. What tissues can be donated? Bone for facial reconstruction, spinal and oral surgerys Cartilage for post-traumatic injury reconstructionc Cornea to restore eyesighti Fasciai Heart Valves to repair congenital heart defects Ligaments Pericardium for neurosurgeryy Skin to prevent infection in burn patientsc Tendons for joint reconstructive surgeryu Veins for heart bypass surgery
    9. 9. Why is there a lack of donors?Most people choose not to become an organ donor because theyhold on to any number of common myths and misconceptions.
    10. 10. I can’t donate because…The hospital staff wontwork as hard to save mylife.FACT. When you go to thehospital for treatment,doctors focus on savingyour life — not somebodyelses. Youll be seen by adoctor whose specialtymost closely matches yourparticular emergency. Thedoctor in charge of yourcare has nothing to dowith transplantation.
    11. 11. I can’t donate because…It is against my religion.FACT. Organ donation isan act of charity. Itconsistent with the beliefsof most religions. Thisincludes Catholicism,Protestantism, Islam andmost branches of Judaism.If youre unsure of oruncomfortable with yourfaiths position ondonation, ask a member ofyour clergy.
    12. 12. I can’t donate because…Im under age 18 and tooyoung to make thisdecision.FACT. Thats true, in a legalsense. But your parents canauthorize this decision. Youcan express to your parentsyour wish to donate, andyour parents can give theirconsent knowing that itswhat you wanted. Children,too, are in need of organtransplants, and they usuallyneed organs smaller thanthose an adult can provide
    13. 13. I can’t donate because…Im not in the best of health/too old and nobody wouldwant my organs or tissues.FACT. Very few medicalconditions automaticallydisqualify you from donatingorgans and theres no definedcutoff age. Organs have beensuccessfully transplanted fromdonors in their 80s. Thedecision to use an organ isbased on strict medical criteria.Only medical professionals atthe time of your death candetermine whether your organsare suitable for transplantation.
    14. 14. I can’t donate because…An open-casket funeral isntan option for people who havedonated organs or tissues.FACT. Organ and tissuedonation doesnt interfere withhaving an open-casket funeral.The donors body is clothed forburial, so there are no visiblesigns of organ or tissuedonation. For bone donation, arod is inserted where bone isremoved. With skin donation, avery thin layer of skin similarto a sunburn peel is taken fromthe donors back. Because thedonor is clothed and lying onhis or her back in the casket, noone can see any difference.
    15. 15. I can’t donate because…Rich and famous people go to thetop of the list when they need adonor organ.FACT. The rich and famous arentgiven priority when it comes toallocating organs. It may seemthat way because of the amount ofpublicity generated whencelebrities receive a transplant, butthey are treated no differentlyfrom anyone else. In fact, theUnited Network for OrganSharing (UNOS), the organizationresponsible for maintaining thenational organ transplantnetwork, subjects all celebritytransplants to an internal audit tomake sure the organ allocationwas appropriate.
    16. 16. I can’t donate because…I wouldnt be allowed todonate a kidney now, unlessone of my family members isin need.FACT. While that used to bethe case, it isnt any longer.Whether its a distant familymember, friend or completestranger you want to help, youcan donate a kidney throughcertain transplant centers. Ifyou decide to become a livingdonor, you will undergoextensive questioning to ensurethat you are aware of the risksand that your decision todonate isnt based on financialgain. You will also undergotesting to determine if yourkidneys are in good shape andwhether you can live a healthylife with just one kidney.
    17. 17. I can’t donate because…My family will be charged.FACT. The organ donorsfamily is never charged fordonating. The family ischarged for the cost of allfinal efforts to save your life,and those costs aresometimes misinterpreted ascosts related to organdonation. Costs for organremoval go to the transplantrecipient.
    18. 18. What can you do?ΠREGISTER to become an organ donor at your local DMV or securely online at DISCUSS your decision with your family and friends (you may inspire others to become organ donors too)
    19. 19. Be A Hero!1. Save as many as 9 lives.2. Enhance the lives of up to 50 people.3. Create an enduring legacy that can mitigate the grief and sorrow of those you leave behind.
    20. 20. Learn more at these websites…
    21. 21. Alisa Hughley, MPHDonor SisterVISIThttp://iiigifts.comQUESTIONS?Send them to