Many people in Acadiana have decided to give the gift of life by donating organs. In fact, over the last ten years, the number of people deciding to donate has doubled. Unfortunately, the list of people waiting for tranplants continues to grow. Tonight, KATC’s David D’Aquin begins an in-depth look at organ donation.
We’ve all dealt with death, and losing someone we care about. And it’s hard to think of life at the same time, but, by becoming organ donors, many people are doing just that. “19 people in this country die every day, waiting. Every day,” explains Libbie Harrison, who works with LOPA.
Those numbers are slowly turning around because “more” people are deciding to become organ donors. “The most important piece of being a donor is actually saying the words to your family,” Harrison says.
Most people think of hearts, lungs, and kidneys when they think about donating organs. “We’re able to give so much more than just our organs when we pass away,” says Renee Rhodes, who works with LOPA. Doctors can restore sight to patients, they can use veins for heart bypass surgeries, even heart valves to save someone’s life.
Harrison says, “It all begins when somebody dies, and this grieving family just digging down deep, somehow, to find a way to say ‘yes’.” Harrison helps grieving families through the process. She can relate, because, ten years ago, her son died in an accident, and he became a donor. “And when people say ‘Libbie, I don’t know how you can work with death every day,’ but I don’t. I work with life, and even in the case of my son, he didn’t become an organ donor because he died – or not solely. He lived. He lived!” says Harrison.
Harrison watched her father die while waiting for a heart transplant. She’s hoping more people will step up, and become organ donors, so other families won’t have to feel helpless. If you want to be a donor, it’s important for you to tell your family so they’ll be able to make the decision if something happens to you. Harrison explains, “Have the conversation. ‘Do you want to be an organ donor?’ Yes I do, I’m a hero in the making.”