Editorial: April is National Donate Life Month
April is National Donate Life Month, and the U.S. sees more than 270 people die every day because they need an organ transplant, according to MatchingDonors.com. Additionally, more than 120,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting organ transplants, says DonateLife.net.
Aside from those troubling statistics, we have examples of locals who have led productive lives thanks to an organ transplant, and those who are in need of one.
Chris Klug is one of the more well-known Aspen recipients of an organ transplant; he received a liver transplant on July 28, 2000, after spending more than six years on a waiting list. His story is inspiring: Klug went on to win a bronze medal in snowboarding in the 2002 Winter Olympics. And he later started the Chris Klug Foundation, in 2003, in an effort to help those who have had organ donations and also promote awareness about organ and tissue donations.
More recent, Aspen resident Pepper Gomes, 69, relayed to The Aspen Times his need for a kidney transplant from a living donor. Gomes is racing against the clock: He has fewer than 90 days to find a living donor whose kidney is the right match. If not, he’ll have to travel to Grand Junction three to four times a week for dialysis.
After Gomes’ story was published in Friday’s Aspen Times, multiple people expressed interest in providing a kidney to the longtime Buttermilk ski instructor.
And judging from the response of people willing to donate to Gomes, here’s hoping he finds the right match. For information about becoming a possible donor to Gomes, call Kathryn O’Dea at 720-754-2164 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.