When it comes to Valentine’s Day, maybe you see “greeting-card scheme” more than “romantic opportunity.” No matter. Forget the candy hearts and high-dollar roses. Instead, think literal hearts. Corneas. Kidneys. Think National Donor Day.
February 14 isn’t just for St. Valentine anymore but for recognizing the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation.
A good time to highlight donation
It’s hard to argue against a date known for love being the perfect opportunity to highlight donors and the extraordinary legacy they leave. Smiles after a gift of a chocolate-bearing stuffed animal are great, but they just don’t last as long as the legacy of gift of a life-giving donation.
Buy the chocolate, if that’s what you’re into! We aren’t opposed to joy around here. Just please also take a moment to explore what donation can mean and how you can get involved. You might be inspired to become a donor or to help out the cause in some other way.
There’s a big gap in support for donation and participants: Although 95% of Americans think donating is a great idea, only 58% have registered to become donors. If you’re already a donor, talking about that decision can go a long way toward educating those who might not have thought about taking that step.
Sharing facts and myths about donation
Sharing common misperceptions about donation might help get your friends and family thinking. For example, many people think that a chronic illness like diabetes prevents them from becoming donors. Not true! Most people can become donors of some kind, regardless of age or medical history.
And the need is vast: 113,000 people are on the donor waiting list right now, and 8,000 of these will die within the year because no organ is available. One person can make a huge difference: Just one individual’s donation could save eight lives.
If you’re a member of a minority group, your donation is even more urgently needed. Fifty-eight percent of those waiting for a donation are nonwhite and, although transplants may occur across racial or ethnic lines, blood types and tissue markers, which are important for matching donors with recipients, tend to be more common with people of the same ethnicity.
National Donor Day comes around just once a year. But every ten minutes—144 times per day—another patient in need is added to the donation waiting list. Why not take this opportunity to make a difference?