The Nevada Sagebrush | Jacob Solis
Breanna Denney/Nevada Sagebrush
Jan Taylor, a heart transplant recipient, poses among a field of balloons in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The roughly 550 balloons each represent a person waiting for an organ transplant.

In the oddly harsh mid-October sun, eight people stood in the shade. They were representatives from Donor Network West and the Orvis Student Nurses’ Association and they came to talk to students of the University of Nevada, Reno, about organ donation. From Monday to Wednesday, these people told their stories to whoever would listen.

For many, students or otherwise, the idea of donating organs holds a certain stigma: it’s defiling the body, it makes someone not whole, the doctors only want to steal organs, it’s scary.

For the people of Donate Life Week, these reasons just don’t hold water.

“We’re not talking about death right now, we’re talking about if something should happen, an accident, and your wishes are to save someone you could,” said BenĂ© Michael, an organ recipient and ambassador with Donor Network West. “I don’t understand why people wouldn’t do it. There’s no maiming of the body, I guess maybe there’s religious reasons … but I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have gotten this gift.”

Michael received a kidney from a living donor, a complete stranger, that saved her life. Since that day, 16 years ago, they’ve been best friends, with Michael even calling her “my angel on earth.” Continue reading

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