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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Mayer

During this season of giving, why not Donate Life?

Updated: Dec 24, 2019

Maybe you missed National Organ Enrollment Day on October 6th, but the good news is you can enroll today, or any day at to become an organ donor.

Nearly 10,000 New Yorkers are waiting for a lifesaving transplant and every 18 hours a New Yorker dies while waiting for an organ transplant because the organ he/she needs is not donated in time. While 92% of residents in the New York metropolitan area support organ, eye, and tissue donation, only 35% are registered.  You can register at the very least to be a deceased donor and/or consider being a living donor for kidney, liver, lung and tissue. 

Of course, this issue has a personal side, as my husband is a transplant recipient and myself a living donor. Donating my kidney to my husband was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Well, it wasn’t really a decision, I never doubted that I wanted to be my husband's donor, as I had the most vested interest in his survival. Not only did I want to prevent the pain and suffering of waiting on a list and risk his kidneys failing to the point of needing dialysis.  I also wanted him to be able to thrive as the wonderful father, husband, physician and person he is, which was why it was never a decision. And again his vibrant health being a foundation for the happiness in our lives gave me a vested interest more than a noble act.  

However, I'll never forget getting wheeled from the recovery room to the hospital floor and the nurses behind the desk clapping for me.  I never got a chance to ask but I assume they do this for everyone and that moment still brings a tear to my eye. Hearing these warm strangers say to me, you saved a life today was something I never expected to hear but one of the most wonderful things anyone has ever said to me.

Several months later I was talking to a monk in Sri Lanka (quite a ways away from the New York City Hospital the organ transplant took place).  Our conversation was limited as his english was poor and my Singalses was non existent. However, a monk's warmth and kindness can be felt beyond language.  When he finally understood that I was saying that I donated my kidney to my husband, he paused a moment and said in the most beautiful way, "thank you". It was as if he was speaking on behalf of humanity and the universe.

You too can be applauded by nurses, thanked by monks, and praised in your local town newspaper. It's much easier than you think and let's face it, you don't need two kidneys! In all seriousness please consider donating and become a life savor, there are so many in need.

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