If you have a driver’s license, you have likely mulled over the question “Would you like to be an organ donor?” A simple and harmless inquiry that causes most people to pause and think.

Organ donation is a person’s consent to give their organs either to science or towards saving another person once they have passed away. As determined by the National Institute of Health, an organ donor can save up to eight lives, and even more with tissue donation.

Although organ donors have saved many lives, a problem still arises. As of October 2017, over 116,000 people are still on the waiting list for organ transplants. Yet, only about 26,000 transplants have been performed in 2017 thus far. Given this data, the United Network for Organ Sharing has found that approximately 20 people die per day due to the lack of available organs. A fact directly resulting from only 54% of Americans being registered on the organ donors list as recorded by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Some may consider this number decent, however, it proves lackluster when a supposed 95% of Americans claim to support organ donation. This beckons the question, why do so many Americans neglect to follow through with their claims of support?

In a study performed by a collective group of scientists at Purdue University, the most cited reasons for people not wanting to become an organ donor are: an inherent mistrust of doctors, hospitals, and the transplant system, a belief in the selling of organs on the black market in an attempt to gain a profit, and the deservingness of the patient on the receiving end of the transplant, that is whether or not the person receiving the transplant is subjectively a good and just person. These reasons are neither true nor false but serve as the opinions of the people interviewed.

Whatever your opinions or beliefs are of the transplant system, one thing remains undoubtedly true: the providing of organs to others in need can save lives. An example of the effects of organ donation can be seen in the story of Colby Cassani, a 14-month-year-old boy who tragically drowned when left attended by a babysitter in 1993. Yet, despite the sadness of this accident, some happiness came out of it. Colby’s organs were donated to a two-year-old girl and twenty-seven-year-old man, saving both of their lives. In response, Colby’s family created what is known as the Colby Foundation to advocate for others to become organ donors as well.

Like Colby, you too can save lives. In most places, you can sign up online or in person through your local motor vehicle department according to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In Michigan, you can register to become an organ donor online via https://services2.sos.state.mi.us/OrganDonor/Pages/Registry.aspx, or in person at your Secretary of State Office. For more information on how to become an organ donor visit:

 https://www.organdonor.gov/register.html  or https://www.dmv.org/mi-michigan/organ-donor.php if you currently reside in the state of Michigan.

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