Are you ready, in the case of a traumatic life-ending event, to donate parts of your body to save someone’s life, if your own life was at an end?
April is Donate Life month. Donate Life month serves to create awareness about how registering to be a donor is an incredible act of kindness and bravery. Donate Life month also honors those who saved and enhanced lives through the selfless act of donation.
Organs that can be donated are hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, intestines and pancreases. Tissues donated can be bones, skin or soft tissues such as tendons. Eyes are also eligible for donation.
Hennepin Healthcare is the largest donor hospital in its region (includes North and South Dakota and three counties in Wisconsin). It takes a strong, compassionate team to approach and work with a family about donation, as a family is usually grieving the loss of their friend or family member.
At Hennepin Healthcare, in 2019, 22 donors donated 62 organs to 57 grateful people. In 2020, 29 donors donated 104 organs to 86 grateful people. That is a lot of lives saved thanks to the generous donors and their families, and the compassionate, expert team.
Hennepin Healthcare’s Transplant Program also has a strong Living Donor Kidney Program. Most people have two kidneys. Becoming a ‘living’ donor means you donate one kidney and function with just one kidney. You can still live a normal and healthy life with only one kidney. Often times, kidney donation happens within family or friends, but some feel that if they can live their life the same with only one kidney, that saving or enhancing the life of someone in need is a selfless act of kindness.
Most people know that you can register to be a donor when you apply for or renew your driver’s license. Several years ago, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) added the option when applying for a hunting or fishing license. This has been a great success as those licenses are renewable annually while a driver’s license is only renewed every four years. You can also register here.
According to Lifesource, there are 120,000 people waiting for an organ transplant nationally. Around 3,200 of those are here in our community. Nationally, every 10 seconds, someone is added to the transplant list, and every year 7,000 people die waiting for an organ that never comes.
Make sure to visit our Wall of Heroes, on the skyway (second floor) between the Orange and Red Buildings. Here you will see donors and recipients, and read their touching stories.