College contest serves as Organ Donation 101

Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Colin M. Stewart

Lead researcher Cheryl Albright (right) and UH Manoa project director Kara Saiki prepare last week for a visit to the Hilo campus to kick off a competition for undergraduate students to promote organ donation. In the photo, the pair holds plush toys representing a kidney, lung and heart.

Each day in the United States, an average of 21 people die due to the lack of available organs for transplant.

And that happens despite the fact that a single donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation, and can save or enhance more than 100 lives through tissue donation, according to the American Transplant Foundation.

Donating one’s organs after death remains a taboo subject for some people, and there’s always plenty of misinformation, urban myths and more to be found in popular culture that serves to dissuade people from signing the organ donor line on their driver’s license, said Cheryl Albright, a researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene.

“(Post-mortem donations) have many, many issues that involve culture, ethics, religion, and medical issues, as well,” she said. “There has to be a match between the donor and the recipient … So there are a lot of people who find this topic unappealing for a lot of reasons. Continue reading.