Guest essayist | Demorat and Chronicle
What is organ donation? Organ donation is donating your organs after you die to someone who is in desperate need of new organs to live. In my opinion, it is one of the most selfless acts a human can do.
Unfortunately, fewer than one-third of Americans are organ donors. More than 105,000 men, women and children are on waiting lists to receive transplants. Every 13 minutes a name is added to the list, and approximately 18 people die each day awaiting an organ.
More than 6,500 people die each year because the organ that would have saved their lives never came. My 8-year-old brother was one of those 6,500 people in 2008. He died awaiting a precious heart. Organ donation isn't just donating your organs after you die; it's giving the person who receives them a second chance at life.
When a person dies, the body, along with the organs, is either buried or cremated. The only exception is if the person is an organ donor, and then the organs are given to people who need them. According to research, 90 percent of Americans say that they support organ donation. What makes me sad is that only 30 percent know the steps to become an organ donor and are actually signed up.
Most people don't want to talk about what happens after they die, so they just forget the whole thing. It's not that people don't want to become donors; it's just not something they think about.
I believe that people should automatically be signed up to be donors when they turn 18. Then, if you don't want to become a donor, you would file paperwork to say that you don't want to be one.
There are many myths about organ donation. Some people believe that it is against their religion. Organ donation is consistent with religions such as Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and most branches of Judaism.
Another common myth is that the hospital staff won't work as hard to save your life because you are an organ donor. But when you go to the hospital for treatment, doctors focus on saving your life, not somebody else's.
Organ donation saves the lives of people who are desperately fighting to live. These lives can be saved if more people donate. There are gifts for birthdays, for Christmas, for anniversaries and for many other things. But, there is only one gift that can save people's lives, and that is organ donation, the "true" gift of life.
To sign up to become an organ donor go to www.donatelife.net.
Nick Passero is an eighth-grader at Willink Middle School in Webster.