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Editorial: Giving life, giving hope


Editorial Board: Samantha Jones | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

 

Herman Melville once said, “We cannot live only for ourselves.  A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

There are more than seven billion people in our world today: seven billion lives that are all intertwined in some way. When it comes down to it, we all laugh, cry, smile and feel emotions each and every day. Yet, how often do we think about saving another’s life? Do we ever really contemplate how easy it is to transform the life of another? Probably not, but becoming an organ donor can change that.

The truth is, through organ donation, one person can save the lives of up to nine other people and improve hundreds more. According to the Gift of Hope Organ Donation Network, a new person joins the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes and 18 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. The numbers are truly astonishing, especially since it is so easy to become a donor.

A major issue we face in our world today is a lack of awareness. Too many people are not exposed to the bleak reality of transplants, and many don’t even think about the chance to give back because we often think we will live forever.

As a 21 year-old, I also feel as if I’m just getting started in this world. I’m sure many of you feel the same way, no matter what stage of life you are in. Yet preparing to transform the life of someone else truly is the greatest gift we can give.

I may not feel as passionately as I do about this if I did not experience the incredible power of organ donation myself. My dear Aunt Linda was diagnosed with a rare lung disease more than ten years ago. I saw the transplant process first hand- the waiting, hopelessness, and finally, the gift of life. After waiting on the list, my aunt received a lung transplant. That precious gift was from a young man. I can never thank him enough for giving my family more time with Linda.

Words can’t express what this meant to my family. If you’re undecided about being a donor, think about how your family could benefit from someone’s donation, or how you could forever alter the course of someone’s life by giving them hope and another chance in this world.

I have made a pledge to myself to honor my aunt and everyone who has ever given wholly of themselves through organ donation. One of my life’s goals is to encourage others to donate and increase awareness about the process itself.

Join me in my quest to give others life. Anyone interested in becoming an organ donor in Illinois must be 18 years of age or older. Please check out http://www.organdonor.gov to get more information about giving life to someone else. If you have any questions, please contact me.

There are 113,621 people waiting for an organ right now. Will you help them?