Source: Daily Helmsman
A life-size game of Operation, complete with "wishbone" and "butterflies in stomach," will be in the Student Plaza from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today to encourage blood and organ donations.
As a part of Donate Life month, the American Humanics Student Association at The University of Memphis is hosting "Operation Donate Life" to raise awareness of the need for organ and blood donations in the U.S.Along with an information tent in the student plaza,
AHSA invited to campus the LifeBlood van, which will be behind the Michael D. Rose Theatre so students can donate blood. Erskine Gillespie, who has been a community outreach coordinator for the Mid-South Transplant Foundation for nine years, said there are more than 106,000 people in need of an organ transplant in the U.S. - and 2,000 in Tennessee alone. "Every 11 minutes of the day, somebody is told by a doctor that unless they get an organ transplant, they're going to die," he said. The Mid-South Transplant Foundation, which services parts of north Mississippi, east Arkansas and west Tennessee, only had 77 organ donors last year.
Simi Atolagbe, president of AHSA, said the goal of Operation Donate Life is to save at least 1,000 lives.Every person who donates organs has the potential to save up to eight lives, Gillespie added. Just as important, every pint of blood donated saves four lives, said Debra Brown, community relations director for LifeBlood. As of 1:30 p.m. yesterday, 25 students signed up to be organ donors, and 12 students donated blood. Atolagbe said she hopes more people will donate today. "Would you have your organs rot in the ground or save lives after you die?" she said. Both Brown and Gillespie said people have common misconceptions about donating blood and organs, primarily because they are uninformed on the subjects. "In some cases, unless they've been affected personally, people don't think about it," Brown said.
To fulfill local demand, LifeBlood in the Mid-South needs an average of 300 pints donated a day but usually only pulls in 100 to 150 pints. By the end of every year, it needs 100,000 pints but only receives half that. As a result, they have to purchase blood from other places."It's really important that people understand they have the opportunity to donate life," Gillespie said. Megan Davis, senior Spanish major and long-time blood donor, said she decided organ and tissue donation was the next step. "I'm helping someone. I don't know who, but someone," she said. "I have a decently rare blood type, AB+, so I like to think I'm special when I give my blood out to people."
Sophomore chemistry major Tonja Reid said as a blood donor, she had always considered organ donation. She decided to take the initiative to become an organ donor after being diagnosed with the same rare eye disease as her sister, who is currently blind in her left eye. Reid said knowing that someone will need to donate eye tissue for her condition made her want to extend a helping hand.
Edy Gyang, freshman biology major, said she debated whether she wanted to be a donor when she got her state identification card. "What are we gonna do with our organs besides be buried with them?" she said. "Why not give them to somebody that needs them?"As of January 2010, 105,228 people are on the waiting list for organs, according to the Donate Life website. Of those needed, only 2,198 transplants were performed. Every three minutes, someone needs a lifesaving blood transfusion, according to LifeBlood. Of the 40 percent of people eligible to donate blood, only 5 percent choose to give.