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Give the gift of life, be an organ donor

Do you know someone who has received a liver, a heart or, maybe, a cornea implant?

Chances are you do, as organ donations in the United States is continuing to grow, with more than 30,000 performed. However, thousands and thousands more await transplants — more than 123,373 nationally and 3,342 in Ohio and approximately 500 people in West Virginia.

During National Donate Life Month this month, please consider becoming an organ donor.

Organizers say they’re finding 95 percent of American adults approve of donation as a viable, life-giving practice, but only close to 50 percent actually register at department of motor vehicle agencies when renewing licenses.

A reason for the lower number of those registering to be organ donors, officials believe, may be the myths about organ and tissue donation.

One myth is potential donors don’t believe they’ll be able to have an open-casket funeral if they donate, but the fact is donors are treated with dignity and respect upon death and may have an open casket because general outward appearance is unchanged.

Also, potential donors should realize there is no cost to them or donor families. All costs are paid for by the organ procurement organization.

Apprehensive donors should know that all major religions support organ and tissue donations as a humanitarian and charitable act.

And finally, no one is too old to donate. There’s no age limit, and everyone from newborns to senior citizens has shared the gift of life.

The deciding factor when it comes to donating a heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas or corneas, as well as bone, fascia, skin, veins or heart valves is a person’s overall physical condition, and anyone under age 18 must have the consent of a parent or guardian.

Potential donors should know that a single donor potentially can save the lives of eight people and enhance the lives of up to 50 or more by donating organs and tissue.

Becoming an organ and tissue donor is simple. Ohioans can declare their wish by indicating their intentions in the Ohio Donor Registry when renewing their driver’s license or by completing a Donor Registry Enrollment Form available online at www.lifelineofohio.org. West Virginians can register the same way when they receive or renew their driver’s licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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