Save a Life in 2010 

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It’s January, and if you’re like most people, you are making your New Year’s resolutions. Do you want to lose weight? Take that trip you’ve always wanted? Change your hairstyle? Save a life? Wait … did I say save a life?

This year, make it one of your resolutions to say “yes” to organ donation. It’s easy and doesn’t cost a thing. You can go online at YesUtah.org, you can call tollfree 1-866-937-8824 (1-866-YES-UTAH), or when you are renewing your driver license, you can say “yes” on the form.

If you’re thinking, “I’d like to save lives and lose weight,” our Good Samaritan Living Kidney Donor program may be for you. More than 180 Utahns are on dialysis, typically three times a week, three hours a day, waiting for a kidney donation. If you are in good health and between the ages of 21 and 65, you could become a Good Samaritan kidney donor and help start off someone’s New Year in a wonderful way. If you are a state employee and donate a kidney, you could also get 30 days paid leave by helping another person.

Since the Good Samaritan program started six years ago, more than 40 people have come forward to help save lives. Just think, if 180 people came forward this year to donate a kidney, Utah would be the first person in the nation to eliminate the kidney waiting list.

Why is organ donation so important?

There are at least 370 Utahns waiting for all types of transplants right now. Of those, one-third is under the age of 34. So it’s not just tired old baby boomers like myself but a whole generation with a lot of years ahead of them.

What many people don’t realize is that one organ donor can save the lives of nine people! What a legacy to leave behind: If you were an organ, eye and tissue donor, you could restore sight to two people and affect the lives of more than 50 people through your gift.

If you are thinking, ‘I’m over 50 years old; who’d want my tired old organs?’ no need to worry. Organs can be recovered from people well into their 80s. Remember that a functioning 78-year-old liver sure beats having none. Corneas for transplant can be recovered up to the age of 70. Two people could regain the gift of sight from one cornea donor.

So if you are still wondering what your resolution(s) should be at this point, maybe three words can help: Save a life. It will make you feel great about the coming year.

Go online, call, or when you’re renewing your driver license, say yes to organ, eye and tissue donation. This is one resolution that is free, easy, and immediate—the best kind.

Alex McDonald
Intermountain Donor Services director of public education/public relations Salt Lake City

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