This April marks the 11th annual National Donate Life Month, a celebration commemorating those who have given the gift of life through organ, eye and tissue donation. For those whose lives have been saved or healed by a transplant, National Donate Life Month provides a chance to share their story to encourage more people to register as donors.
The story of Weldon Bradshaw, a 64-year-old English teacher and track coach, proves that you can never be too old to save a life. In the eleventh hour of his chronic and deadly liver disease, he and his family received the greatest news they could hope for; a liver had been donated by an 84-year-old woman, and Weldon’s life was saved.
Evan Miller’s experience with donation and transplant happened much sooner in his life. Ten days after he was born, his parents were told that their son had a devastating rare genetic disorder, and a liver transplant was the only way to save his life. Evan received a life-saving liver transplant on his second birthday. “We are forever grateful to Evan’s donor and family, their decision to donate saved our son. They are in our thoughts and prayers everyday” said Teddi Miller, Evan’s mother.
“The transplant waiting list is made up of people of all ages,” stated Wayne Dunlap, Executive Director for New Mexico Donor Services, the organ and tissue recovery agency serving New Mexico. “It’s important to show that people of any age can make a powerful difference in someone’s life by being a donor. Donation saves and heals lives every day, but it can only happen when someone makes the important decision to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. You can make that lifesaving difference by registering your decision on your driver’s license or on the Donate Life donor registry at NMdonor.org.”
There are now 112 million registered donors in the United States, including 1 million from the state of New Mexico. Still, the number of people in need of transplants continues to outpace the supply of donated organs. More than 120,000 people are currently awaiting a transplant including 750 New Mexicans. Sadly, an average of 18 patients die every day, because the organ they needed was not donated in time. The solution to this problem is to continue educating the public about the lifesaving effects of donation and transplantation and encourage them to sign up through their state donor registry.
Facts to know about registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor:
– Saying “Yes” to donation will not affect your medical care.
– You are never too old or too ill to register as a donor.
– There is no cost to the donor or their family for donation.
– All major U.S. religions support organ donation.
To learn more about organ, tissue and eye donation call 505-843-7672 for a free brochure or visit NMdonor.org.