Giovanni was an 18-year-old high school senior who loved to build things. His curiosity and brilliance would have him building makeshift rockets just to see if he could get them to fly, and he could piece together 2,000+ LEGOS in a few hours. He loved macaroni and had an entrepreneurial mind from the age of five.
When Giovanni was 16, he checked the box on his driver’s permit application to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. This decision would offer his family something positive after he passed away two years later.
While beginning the donation process after Giovanni died, his parents remembered that their attorney was on the waiting list for a kidney and brought that to LifeSource. The LifeSource team inquired about Giovanni being a donor to this family friend and shortly afterwards, Giovanni’s parents received a phone call letting them know that he was a match.
Giovanni helped others by making the decision to register as a donor. Giovanni’s mother, Rolanda, reflects on his amazing gifts by sharing: “It’s beauty. It’s a gift. It’s a divine blessing. I encourage every single individual to do the same.”
Rolanda hopes that more people will consider registering as donors – especially people of color. She explains, “When more people that look like me give, it gives other people the opportunity to receive that organ. And I want other people who look like me to have a bigger opportunity to live.”
Rolanda shares that knowing Giovanni was a donor and saved and healed the lives of others is a “source of life” in itself.
Your Questions, Answered
Check out the helpful donation FAQs below, and remember that regardless of your age, race, religion, or health, everyone can join the donor registry and share the gift of life.
What does joining the donor registry mean?
When you register as an organ, eye and tissue donor you are making a legal decision that will be honored after your death. It’s important to talk with your family so they can be aware and prepared to honor your decision.
Who can register to donate?
Every individual has the right to sign up to donate their organs, eyes and tissues at the time of their death. Anyone can register. Your age or health does not prevent you from registering. Most health conditions do not prevent donation and age is not a factor – the oldest organ donor was 95. Medical advances now allow people with chronic conditions, cancer, HIV and hepatitis to donate. Don’t rule yourself out – check the box.
What if I don’t document my decision?
If you don’t decide prior to your death whether or not you want to become an organ, eye and tissue donor, your loved ones will have the opportunity to make that decision on your behalf. Therefore, it is incredibly important to document your decision and share your decision with your loved ones.
How does the waiting list work?
When it comes to waiting for a transplant, we are all created equal. Wealthy or famous individuals cannot and do not get bumped up higher on the national transplant waiting list.
These factors are used to determine the best candidate for an available organ:
- Blood type
- Body size
- Severity of patient’s medical condition
- Distance between the donor’s hospital and the patient’s hospital
- The patient’s waiting time
- Whether the patient is healthy enough for surgery
Does race & ethnicity matter in organ donation?
Although organs are not matched by race and ethnicity, and people of different races frequently match one another, all individuals waiting for an organ transplant will have a better chance of receiving a transplant if there are large numbers of donors from their racial or ethnic background. This is because compatible blood types and tissue markers—critical qualities for donor and recipient matching—are more likely to be found among members of the same ethnicity. So, more diversity in the donor pool helps everyone.
Currently, ethnic minorities are in desperate need of more organ, eye and tissue donors. They represent about 60% of the national organ transplant waiting list but only about 30% of actual donors.*
This means greater diversity of donors could increase access to transplantation for everyone.
Looking for more information? Read more frequently asked questions and join the donor registry.
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