OUR VIEWS: Join the organ donors

Aug 13, 2012

The Olympic-style Transplant Games of America sports festival took place recently at Grand Valley State University for transplant recipients from across the country.
Opening ceremonies were at the VanAndel Arena in Grand Rapids in front of 1,000 athletes, 1,500 donor families and supporters, and more than 700 volunteers.

A woman from the Tri-Cities, who was born with cystic fibrosis and wasn’t expected to live past the age of 5, received a new set of lungs over a decade ago. Now 45, she competed in the cycling portion of the transplant games.

Some organs, such as kidneys or parts of the liver, can be donated while the donor is alive. However, most organ donations occur after the donor is deceased.

Almost anyone can be an organ donor. AIDS, and certain cancers and infections prohibit organ donation; but beyond that, donors can be any age or background.

You don’t need to be healthy or young to donate. Even children and infants can be donors with parental consent.

There are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. on waiting lists for organ transplants. That would fill the Big House at the University of Michigan.

You can sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor when you have your driver’s license renewed. But why wait for that? Just go to the Secretary of State website at michigan.gov/sos and click on “organ donation” on the left side of the site and sign up.

There is no greater gift than the gift of life. We encourage you to say yes to joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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