Saturday, April 24, 2010

Donor Drive 2010 - I'm registered, are you?

“I am only one, but I am one!  I cannot do everything, but I can do something!  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do!”  Edward Everett Hale
Signing the back of your drivers license DOES NOT make you an registered organ donor.  
I haven't been industrious looking up quotes lately but as I was reading a blog from a very wonderful heart transplant recipient, Angela, I had seen she changed her header to show this quote.    If I were to list all the people I interact with on a social basis the number of people who are in the Alpaca Industry and people associated with Organ Donation would fill 90% of the list...ok, maybe 99%. 
  This is the lung pillow Dad got from Henry Ford Hospital after his transplant. I've decided to take it with me when I speak. I also take my scrapbooks from the two National Kidney Foundation Games I've been to with Team Michigan.
Thursday night I spoke to a group in Coldwater on behalf of Gift of Life Michigan and the need for registered organ donors.  It was the first time I had spoken officially on behalf of Gift of Life Michigan since my father died.  He had been asked to speak at this dinner last fall.  I was asked to take his place.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to take his place.  I don't think I'm strong enough but I am part of him and I share his passion for life.
I misplaced my outline that I use when speaking to groups so I had to make a new one...yeah, that worked.  The focus of the evening was my dad.  I shared our transplant story and why it's so important to be a registered organ donor.  I explained that it's not just the organs that are noted, it's also tissue and corneas.  The Gift of Life Michigan also works with the Michigan Eye Bank. I spoke about our hero, my dad's donor, who we have never met but who gave our family the greatest gift we could ever get.  I told them about other people who I know who have had their transplants and about people who are waiting for their chance for a transplant while their organs continue to weaken.  After I finished speaking, I let them ask questions.
 The first question asked was, "Will a doctor save my life if I'm a registered donor?"  That question always gets asked.  I always reply, "Yes!  You are the patient and the doctor will do everything possible to save your life but in the event that the doctor can't then the transplant team will come and make the decision  if you are a viable organ donor candidate. There are two separate teams of doctors that make these decisions."  
Another question asked is, "I'm on a lot of medications and have issues, am I still a candidate to be an organ donor?"    My answer, "Register to be an organ donor.  The doctors will decide when the time comes.  What may not be viable now might be 20 years from now.  If you are unsure, contact the Gift of Life Michigan.  I am not in the medical field and I can't answer these questions like they can."
"Am I too old to be a donor?"  My answer, "Register to be an organ donor.  Age is irrelevant.  It depends on the health of your body and your organs and the doctors will decide."  
I hope my answers to those questions helped you with your decision to be an organ donor.  It's a topic people don't like to discuss because it means that they have to talk about their own mortality but the problem is is that people need to talk about this with their families.  The best part about being a registered organ donor is that you get to use the parts the rest of your life but take good care of them because they will save lives.  Yes, that's plural because one donor can save many lives. For more information regarding frequently asked questions, please visit the Gift of Life Michigan website for more answers.

"Live Life then Give Life!"
My display table

Michigan residents waiting for organs

In 2009, the generosity of Michigan organ donors resulted in 862 transplants and saved hundreds of lives. Transplants so far in 2010 total 189. Michigan patients waiting for a transplant as of April 1, 2010.

Kidney 2,381
Liver 322
Lung 44
Kidney/Pancreas 43
Heart 88
Pancreas 12
Kidney/Liver 27
Kidney/Heart 2
TOTAL 2,936

I made it through the evening without crying although their were a lot of tears in the room.  That wasn't my intention but I can't talk about organ donation without talking about my dad.  When you visit the Gift of Life Michigan website to register to be an organ donor, check the box that says you heard about it from a volunteer then enter my name, Andrea Morrison.  My goal is to register 212 new registered donors this year.  Look that the numbers I just listed.  2936 people in Michigan are waiting for the Gift of Life.


  1. I admire you for speaking on your dad's behalf and for pursuing this worthy mission.

    I'm so glad it went well.

    My husband and I are both registered donors in Colorado.

  2. Yay Andrea! Such an important cause - your dad would be proud.
    Registered donor over here in Minnesota!

  3. Another registered donor here in MI!! You inspired me last year Andrea and I wish I could sign up again!