Organ, eye and tissue donation is a unique area of medicine that depends on both medical expertise and humanity. Even with cutting edge technological advancements, transplants are only possible because someone said yes to helping someone else – often, a stranger.
“It’s an incredible gift,” says Chad Carroll, Executive Director of Donate Life Texas, the non-profit organization dedicated to helping Texans safely and securely document their donation decisions. “One person’s choice to be a donor can save 8 lives through organ donation and heal up to 75 others through tissue and eye donation.”
Donate Life Texas is the only official tissue, eye and organ donor registry in the state. “We believe Texans have the right to accurate, factual information about donation to make the decision that’s right for them,” says Carroll. “It’s a decision that more than 13 million Texans have already made.”
Even so, there’s room to grow: 44% of Texans haven’t yet made the choice to register as a donor, leaving the futures of their fellow Texans uncertain. Last year, 557 Texans died waiting for an organ transplant, averaging about 46 people per month in the state.
And some communities are hit harder than others. Of Texans waiting for a transplant, 40% are Hispanic and 25% are Black and nearly twice as many men than women are in need of a transplant. Even though organs are not matched based on race or ethnicity, and people from different backgrounds can match, greater diversity in the number of people willing to donate organs means a greater impact on every affected community.
Most Texans register to be a donor when they get their driver’s license or state ID card, or at the DMV when renewing their vehicle registration. Did you know? You can also register to be a donor online, right now, through Donate Life Texas. It’s easy, free and just takes a moment to make a big difference.
So how do donation decisions become lives saved? Donate Life Texas partners with the state’s three designated organ procurement organizations, or OPOs, and 14 tissue and eye donation agencies that guide donor families through the donation process and provide clinical services to recover, process and transport donor organs, corneas and tissues. It’s these special organizations that transform the donation decisions of individuals and families into tangible lives saved.
Last year, Texans donated 3,089 organs for transplant, shared the gift of sight through 7,498 corneal transplants and helped heal people relying on tissues for surgery, recovery and treatment with more than 145,000 tissue grafts donated. Learn more about the process here.
So while the waiting list continues to grow, adding another name every 9 minutes, so too does the number of people willing to step up and help their fellow Texans. Our state is a mosaic of cultures, backgrounds and traditions connected by the spirit of giving. Let’s show the country that there’s Texas pride in being an organ, eye and tissue donor, and register today.
Learn more about Donate Life Texas and how you can register as a donor today.
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Registering to be an organ donor supports our communities! Share the gift of life and register today. It’s an easy way to make a big impact.