Organ donors can give others the ultimate gift of life

In July, Southwest Senior ran an article about organ donation and we recently heard from The Ultimate Gift of Life Foundation, which works to help raise awareness about organ donation and to increase the number of registered organ donors. 

The article featured myths and facts about organ donation. One important notes is that any adult, regardless of their age or medical history, can register to be an organ and tissue donor.  

Here are some other facts and statistics passed on to us by Judy Mancillas, director of The Ultimate Gift of Life Foundation, New Mexico:

• One deceased organ and tissue donor has the potential to save eight lives, restore sight to two people and improve the quality of life to 75 others. (Donate Life America)

• Currently, there are over 116,000 people on the transplant waiting list and an average of 20 people die each day while waiting. (United Network for Organ Sharing/UNOS)

• Based on October statistics, in New Mexico there are 723 people in need of an organ transplant and most are waiting for a kidney. (UNOS) 

As the article stated, kidneys can come from deceased or living donors.  

Mancillas points out if you have not already registered through MVD to be a deceased organ and tissue donor, you can access the National Donor Registry online at donatelife.net/campaign/the-ultimate-gift/ or contact her for assistance. She advises if you registered at MVD, check to make sure you have a red donor heart on the front of your driver’s license.

If you know a person you would like to help through living donation, talk to him or her and the transplant program where the person is listed.

If you would like to be a non-directed living donor, contact a transplant center of your choice to find out if they have this type of donation program.

Visit hoptn.transplant.hrsa.gov/members/memberdirectory/ for a list of transplant centers.

You can also call the United Network for Organ Sharing patient services line at 1-888-894-6361 for help.

Whatever your decision is about organ donation, please tell your loved ones, so that they are prepared to honor your wishes.

For more information about The Ultimate Gift of Life Foundation, New Mexico, they can be reached at their office in Cloudcroft at 682-7884 or by e-mailing Mancillas at judy@theultimategiftoflife.com.