An April 3rd article in the Zanesville Times Recorder, “Organ donation helps family cope with death,” gave the story of a 29-year old father who died in a car accident and donated his organs. In all, Stephen Hennessy Jr. donated both of his kidneys, heart valves, corneas, veins, nerves, bones and tendons.

While this was obviously a tragic experience for his family and loved ones, Stephen’s willing sacrifice has undoubtedly made a positive difference to the recipients of his organs. In Ohio alone, more than 3,400 people are waiting for an organ transplant, with greater than 2,600 in need of a kidney. Many individuals are in need of multiple organs.

Unfortunately, there simply are not enough organ donors to meet this demand. April is designated National Donate Life Month, a month devoted to raising awareness and educating people about the need and importance of organ donation. So many important issues have an awareness month corresponding to it, which is a great sentiment. But I sometimes feel that, upon the conclusion of the month, we may push a certain issue to the backs of our minds and not think of it again until the following year.

As is true with so many health needs, however, organ and tissue donation is an issue that deserves, if not our constant attention, then at least our participation. It is easy to register to be an organ donor, and the aforementioned article mentioned a number of ways to do so. The simplest, and probably most common, way of registering is through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, such as when renewing your driver’s license.

It is appropriate that it is called “National Donate Life Month” because it truly represents the impact that organ donation can make. These organs, which we might sometimes take for granted, are a lifeline to someone desperately holding on to survival. While I hope that you and your loved ones never are in need of a vital organ transplant, it is important that we put ourselves in the shoes of the people who are in need.

If that situation were to ever present itself, we would hope and pray daily that the needed organ would be available. Registering to be an organ donor is a quick and easy way to show that we are all together and are willing to support our neighbors in a time of need.


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