National Donate Life Month – April 2013

Posted by George Semones on

 National Donate Life Month (NDLM) was instituted by Donate Life America and its partnering organizations in 2003. 

Celebrated in April each year, NDLM features an entire month of local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation. 

Currently more than 115,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants to save their lives. Thousands more are in need of tissue and cornea transplants to restore their mobility and sight. Register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today and provide hope to those who wait. You can make a difference by joining us and engaging your community during NDLM.

Tissue Donation is an end of life gift used to help others in need. Over 1.5 million lifesaving and life improving tissue grafts are used in the United States each year, offering patients a new chance to lead healthy productive lives.

How Does Donation Work 

The first step is to decide to become a donor. You can register your donation decision through your states donor registry, or you can tell someone close to you about your decision. If you do not register your donation decision while alive, your immediate family or legal next of kin may authorize donation. Your family will also be asked for information about your medical/ social history. Donated tissues are removed in a surgical procedure under sterile conditions by skilled medical professionals. Throughout the process, the donors body is treated with care and respect.

Who Benefits

Patients receive donated bone, tendons and ligaments to repair or replace tissue lost to cancer, trauma, joint disease and more. Patients with a damaged knee ligaments are often treated using a donated Achilles tendon, a hamstring or patellar tendon. Donated skin is a lifeline for severe burn patients and also used for breast reconstruction following mastectomy and for abdominal wall reinforcement. Cornea transplants prevent blindness and restore vision. Heart valves replace damaged valves and treat cardiac conditions.

What About the Funeral 

 When tissue removal is complete the body is restored. Donation should not interfere with funeral arrangements , including open casket services. Donation of tissue is timely and accomplished within 12 to 24 hours of a patients death.

What Happens After Donation

Donor Families normally are offered support following their loved ones donation including bereavement aftercare general information about the outcome of their donation and donor memorial ceremonies.Although donation is an anonymous gift, transplant recipients may choose to write a thank you you letter to their donor family. Donor families may then  decide whether they wish to correspond or meet with their recipient. 

Am I eligible to be a tissue donor

Almost anyone who wishes to donate is a potential tissue donor. Infectious diseases such as HIV or Hepatitus rule out donation. Testing and medical histories as well as age can determine final acceptance. 


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