Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed April as Organ Donation Awareness Month in North Carolina and is encouraging all citizens to learn about and consider the many organ donation needs throughout the state.
“According to Carolina Donor Services (CDS), more than 3,546 North Carolinians are waiting for organ transplants and an average of 18 people die each day due to the severe shortage of donated organs,” McCrory said.
He said that during April, “… our administration will be joining other agencies and organizations to raise awareness and boost the number of donors.”
“Nationally, more than 117,000 people are currently awaiting a life saving transplant,” said Dawn Hall, Director of Communications for Carolina Donor Services.
Hall said being an organ donor “… provides hope to the 117,000 men, women and children … ” who need a transplant.
“Organs that can be donated include the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and small intestines. Organs are used to save lives by replacing diseased organs with healthy ones. Tissues that can be donated include skin, bone, corneas, heart valves, and veins. Corneas are transplanted to give sight and heart valves are used in valve replacement surgery, common in children. Skin grafts are used for burn victims. Bone, tendons and ligaments can be used in reconstructive surgeries,” according to Donate Life.
One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, said Donate Life.
A heart transplant is what saved Katie Tyson’s life 25 years ago. Tyson, who received the transplant in 1987, was the tenth person at Duke University Medical Center to receive a heart transplant.
She said that organ donations are very important. “Back when I had mine, it was so new they didn’t tell me much. I don’t even know who my donor is,” she said.
Tyson needed the transplant because a viral infection had damaged her heart, resulting in a condition known as V-tach, ventricular tachycardia, or fast heart rhythm originating in one of the lower chambers of the heart.
“I never dreamed that I was going to need a heart, I was a well person,” she said. Tyson said she has truly been blessed.
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles currently maintains the state donor registry; 99 percent of the 4,312,768 North Carolinians on the registry signed up while receiving a driver license, ID card or other DMV service.
The Division of Motor Vehicles partners with Donate Life NC. Donate Life NC license plates reached the Department of Motor Vehicles’ required minimum order of 300 plates requested. The license plate production will begin soon.
Donate Life NC is a nonprofit under Donate Life America, which is an organization dedicated to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation.
To join the list of organ and eye donors, register and have a heart placed on your driver’s license at the DMV, or register online at www.DonateLifeNC.org.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.