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Health Beat: The power of organ donation

The impact organ donations have on our society is much greater than many may know. Donating an organ can be a matter of helping someone else lead a more fulfilled, productive life. For some, it could be a matter of life or death, although it is difficult to truly understand its importance until one is personally impacted by its generosity. We all hope that we are never in a situation in which we need this type of care, however, it is an extremely prevalent need within our society.

Currently, there are 114,827 people who are in need of a lifesaving organ transplant. Additionally, every 10 minutes, someone is added to this national transplant waiting list. These statistics are very upsetting to hear, but there is a positive message to be heard. That message is that just one organ donor can save up to eight lives. That’s eight different people with families and stories that will be forever impacted by an organ donor’s immeasurable kindness. Furthermore, donating this gift of life affects more than just the donor and recipient. Its effects extend well beyond to all those who love, care and support those in need of transplant.

Making these types of decisions is not always easy, as many do not want to think about the end of life for themselves or others. However, by registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor, one gains peace of mind in knowing that countless others will have boundless appreciation for your gift. My grandmother recently passed away and was an organ donor, as well as donated her body to medical research. Her passing was a great loss. However, in knowing that her life gave life to many others, my family and I were provided comfort during the difficult time. I have experienced firsthand the tremendous affects that organ donation can have and because of this, I am a registered organ donor.

Carolina Donor Services in Greenville saw an increase in donor participant numbers for 2017, which was made possible by the individuals and families that made a decision to give the gift of life by registering as a donor. Last year, the impact of increased public awareness was demonstrated in many areas that brought hope to those waiting and a second chance to those who received a transplant. The impacts included:

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211 donors, an 8.7 percent increase from 2016

Of the 211 donors, 662 organs were transplanted

164 organs provided to medical research programs to help future generations

The 5-millionth donor was registered at the North Carolina DMV

Vidant Beaufort Hospital received Platinum recognition for the 2017 Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Campaign, in which hospitals engage in activities designed to promote donation awareness and register new donors.

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Unfortunately, the need for this gift continues to grow. Despite advances in medicine and technology and increased awareness of organ donation, there continues to be a gap between supply and demand. More progress is needed to ensure that all candidates have a chance to receive a lifesaving transplant.

April is national Donate Life month. Every day in April, we celebrate the tremendous generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye, tissue, marrow and blood donors. We encourage others to follow in their example and make a meaningful difference. Consider becoming an organ donor so that you can help in this shortage and create a better future for our society.

For more information, visit www.carolinadonorservices or call 1-800-200-2672.

Kelli Jones is a graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Studies and Business Administration. She works in Administration at Vidant Beaufort Hospital.