The difference a donor can make: One life saved, the other in limbo

William Knight holds his dog Sheldon after watering his flowers at his home Thursday, April 20, 2017.
While William Knight does not know who donated the kidney that saved his life, he does know the contribution gave him a second chance and inspired him to do the same for others.

Knight, 56, was the girl’s junior varsity basketball coach at D.H. Conley High School when his kidneys began to fail. One of his players created an online and grassroots campaign to help him find a new one. In 2012, he received a kidney from anonymous donor after being on dialysis for 3 1/2 years.

Before his experience, he did not agree to be an organ donor when the DMV asked him if he would check the donor box when he got his driver’s license. The gift he later received, and the outpouring of support, changed his perspective, he said.

“Most African-Americans think that if they became an organ donor, that if something happened, they wouldn’t get 110 percent help to save their lives and if someone needed the organ, they would let them die so someone would get an organ,” Knight said. “That’s the fear that most African-Americans had. When I first got my license, that was a real thought of why I wouldn’t be an organ donor.”

Advocates observing National Donate Life Month this month are encouraging people across the country to register as organ and tissue donors to help people like Knight and thousands of others. Some organs, like kidneys, can be donated while the donors are still living. Most other organs, hearts and lungs for instance, are available after donors die, but only after every effort is made to save their lives, and only with their consent or the consent of their immediate family. Continue reading
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Be sure to share your decision with your family to ensure your generous gift is honored,  At risk is the legacy you wish to leave.