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Give the Gift of Life: Become an Organ Donor

Give the Gift of Life: Become an Organ Donor

Organ transplants give thousands of children and adults each year a renewed chance at living full and active lives. And while ninety percent of Americans support organ donations, only thirty percent actually know how to become a donor.

“Registering to be an organ donor is a generous decision that can save the lives of up to eight individuals,” says Jessica Burns, AGNP-C, Archbold’s palliative care nurse practitioner. “Almost anyone, regardless of age, race or gender, can become an organ and tissue donor.”

Curious how organ donations work? Here are a few things you need to know.

There are Three Types of Organ Donation

The three major types of organ donation include:

  • Living Donations
  • Deceased Donations
  • Vascularized Composite Allografts (VCA)

Living Donations

According to Burns, a living donation can be explained as an opportunity to save a life while you are still alive.

“To spare an individual a long and uncertain wait for an organ to become available, relatives, loved ones, friends, and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous may serve as living donors for patients in need of a kidney or liver,” said Burns.

Deceased Donation

Deceased donation is the process of giving an organ at the time of the donor’s death for transplantation to be performed for another person.

Vascularized Composite Allografts

Vascularized composite allografts (also known as VCAs) involve transplantation of multiple structures that may include skin, bone, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.

According to Burns, VCA donations are rare and need special authorization.

“VCAs must be specifically stated by an individual on his/her donor registration or by the legal next-of-kin if authorizing the donation at the time of death,” said Burns.

An Organ Donor’s Life Is Always A Priority

One of the biggest misconceptions about being a donor is that doctors won’t do everything in their power to save you. According to Burns, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“The organ donor’s life always comes first,” said Burns. “After all efforts to save the patient’s life have been exhausted, tests have to be performed to confirm severe acute neurological insult/injury of the absence of brain activity. Only after brain death has been declared or the patient meets criteria for donation after circulatory death, is organ donation a possibility.”

One Donor Can Save Up to Eight Lives

You may be surprised by the many ways you can make a difference as an organ donor. In fact, the list of organs and tissues that can be successfully transplanted from an organ donor to a patient in need continues to grow each year.

One donor can save up to eight lives, restore sight to two people through cornea donation, and heal more than 75 lives through tissue donation.

To learn more about the ways you can make a difference as an organ donor, click here.

As An Organ Donor, You Can Make A World Of Difference

There are currently more than 120,000 people on the waiting list for an organ in the United States. And every ten minutes, someone is added to the national waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. Organ donation provides a life-giving, life-enhancing opportunity to those who have exhausted all available medical treatment options. As a donor, your organs could save the life of someone’s mother, father, child, or sister. As a donor, you could become someone else's hero.

Archbold encourages you to register as an organ donor today. For more information, visit