Raising organ donor awareness | AspenTimes.com

Raising organ donor awareness

Dear Editor:

Your story about Summit for Life and organ donation highlighted the tragic shortage of human organs for transplant operations (“Summit for Life events gear up this weekend,” Dec. 9, The Aspen Times).

There are now over 108,000 people on the National Transplant Waiting List, with over 50 percent of these people dying before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage – give donated organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a nonprofit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 14,300 members at this writing, including 239 members in Colorado.

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David J. Undis

Nashville, Tenn.