With April being National Donate Life Month, I thought it might be helpful to draw a little attention to those organizations that work tirelessly to promote organ donation.
Before I was an organ transplant recipient in 2017, I knew very little about organ donation and transplant.
Since receiving my liver from a donor I never knew, I’ve discovered there are many helpful and supportive organizations out there who not only advocate for donation, but help recipients adjust to their new lives.
A couple of my favorites are Gift of Life and a local non-profit here in Genesee County called the Gleason Community Fund, who’s board of directors I sat on for about two years.
Gift of Life Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, is a wonderful organization. It is the state’s only federally designated organ and tissue recovery program, providing all services necessary for organ donation to occur in Michigan.
They are a non-profit organization working 24 hours a day all over the state as a liaison between donors, hospitals and transplant centers.
Gift of Life is celebrating its 50th year in 2021. It recovers more than 900 organs every year for transplantation from 300 or more donors, saving hundreds of lives. Bone, skin and other tissue also is recovered, helping to significantly improve the lives of thousands of seriously injured and sick recipients.
The organization also maintains and grows the Michigan Organ Donor Registry in partnership with the Michigan Secretary of State. It is a confidential database of people who have expressed their desire to someday help others by becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor.
The Gleason Community Fun, a Genesee County non-profit that supports organ donor awareness, raises money to support its scholarship fund, which gives away about $5,000 in scholarships to aspiring medical students. Founded by Genesee County Clerk John Gleason in 2018, the organization also strives to increase the public’s knowledge about organ donation and transplant.
While I don’t have personal knowledge of other organizations, there are many out there who do their part to help the organ donation/recipient community.
Donate Life America is a charitable organization that works towards helping people donate organs. The numbers of registered donors have risen significantly over the last few years, but there is always a need for more donors.
The Charity for Organ Donation Assistance was created to provide funds for people who are getting ready to undergo an organ transplant. The group is new, but it is growing rapidly thanks to the contributions. Donations collected by this organization help organ recipients lead a better life after their surgery.
The National Transplant Assistance Fund is a well-known name in the organ donation world. It has been around since 1983 and has since helped countless families overcome financial hardships post-transplantation.
There is also the United Network for Organ Sharing which educates the public about organ donation and the need for it in the world today. A lot of funding is also spent on research purposes so scientists can find better ways to use organ donations.
So, whether you want to help out by giving to one of these organ donation organizations, or you just want to do your part by becoming an organ donor – wither way you’ll be helping save lives.
Gary Gould is the managing editor of the Genesee County View. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
To become an organ donor, visit www.giftoflifemichigan.org/become-donor or www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1640_34786—,00.html