Every March 22nd, Kevin Jenkins has a celebration to honor the gift of life he was given – a kidney from a friend and coworker. It’s now been over 22 years since Kevin’s kidney transplant and he’s as grateful today as he was all those years before. “Every year since my transplant I have a celebration,” Kevin shares.”It’s my extra birthday, because now I have life.” While he celebrates with family, friends and his donor each year, every five years he has a huge party with the community because, in his words, “The community came forward to help me with this process.”
Currently there are more than 100,000 men, women and children on the national transplant list waiting for a second chance at life. The urgent need, combined with the lack of available organs, means we need more people to register as organ donors. It’s an easy way to make a difference for others after you’re gone. The simple act of registering to be a donor – on your driver’s license or online, right now – is a selfless act of compassion and generosity.
A common misconception is that donation is prohibited by certain religious or faith beliefs. That simply is not true – all major religions support donation.
Looking for more information about donation and religion? Check out this summary of theological perspectives on the donation of tissues and organs after death. LifeSource encourages anyone with additional questions to speak with their faith leader for guidance.
Here are answers to other common questions about registering as a donor:
What does it mean to register as a donor?
Registering as an organ donor is a legal decision that means you agree to donate your organs, eyes and tissues to help others after your death. It’s a decision that will be honored if you have the opportunity to be a donor, so it’s important to talk with your family about your choice.
What can be donated?
One donor can save and heal more than 75 lives. Did you know all of the following can be donated?
Organs: Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and intestines.
Tissue: Skin, veins, tendons, bone, heart valves and connective tissue.
Eyes: Whole eye or cornea.
Does my age or health prevent me from becoming a donor?
Your age or health does not prevent you from registering. Most health conditions do not prevent donation and age is not a factor. Medical advances now allow people with many chronic conditions to donate. Don’t rule yourself out – register!
Is my life the priority?
Yes. If you are taken to the hospital after an accident or injury, it’s the hospital’s number one priority to save YOUR life. Your status as a donor is not even considered until every effort has been made to try to save your life.
How can I register to be a donor?
There are four ways to register as a donor in Minnesota:
- Most people check the box when renewing or applying for a license at the DMV.
- Skip the line and register online.
- Register as a donor when applying for a hunting and fishing license online.
- iPhone users can register in the Health app on their Apple device
More registered donors means a better chance at getting an organ for everyone. As we gather together this season, let’s remember to give thanks and give back.
Looking for more information? Check out more frequently asked questions about organ, eye and tissue donation.
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