116,000: People each day in the United States awaiting a gift.
3,500: Number of those who live in North Carolina.
11: Number of minutes before a new person awaits this gift.
18: Number of people a day who die without the gift.
The gift I am talking about? That would be the gift of life through organ donation. While over 4 million people in North Carolina alone are willing to give that gift, the actual number who can or do is far, far less.
Organ and tissue donation is a topic I get many questions about as a funeral director. This past holiday season was one of many gifts. What I would like to address here is a true gift, a personal gift, a gift of life. Here are some common questions on the topic of organ donation.
“I indicated that I wanted to be an organ donor on my driver’s license, isn’t that enough?”
NO! Regardless of personal choice, it is your next of kin who will ultimately determine if you are an organ donor or not. Indicating your preference on your license is a great first step but you need to have the conversation with your loved ones as well.
“Can I still have a funeral/viewing if I am an organ donor?”
Absolutely, you can have a funeral and viewing. Through years of working together, organ donation programs and funeral service have come a long way in making sure that both donation and funeral wishes can be honored with minimal impact on either should you choose to do both.
“What is the cost to me or my family if I wish to be a donor?”
The cost to you as a donor is basically nothing. Not only can you give the gift of life, but can do so for very little, if any, cost.
“Who can I contact for more information?”
You can always contact me at Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home, 704-545-3553, for information. In addition, you can speak to the organization directly responsible for much of the organ donation activities in this part of our state, LifeShare Carolinas. They are located right here in Charlotte and have many online facts at www.lifesharecarolinas.org They can also be reached at 704-512-3303.
So this year, as you give thanks for the gifts you have, be sure to keep in mind those who await a more truly personal and priceless gift every day. Many of us do, after all, over 4 million have already indicated our desire to do so. If you haven’t done so, please consider doing so. And when all is said and done, take a moment to have the conversation with your family that is necessary to ensure this gift can be given.
Until next week, take the time to live, laugh and love…