Consider Giving the Gift of Life

There’s a lot of talk of “giving” this time of year, but one gift that isn’t given nearly enough is the gift of life. There are more than 120,000 people waiting for an organ donation in the United States, and you can help.

For Sharon Witaszek, who works at DHHS, organ donation hits home. Her husband, Chuck, needs a kidney donation. Chuck had Goodpasture syndrome, which eventually took both of his kidneys. He was on dialysis and received a transplant, but that has started deteriorating and he’s back on dialysis.

“Dialysis is very hard on the heart,” Sharon said. “More people die of heart attacks when they’re on dialysis than from the actual kidney disease. He’s now in heart failure.”

Chuck is back on the transplant list, but they’ve been told it will be three years before he can get a new kidney, unless they can find a donor.

The hope is that maybe, somehow, this short article will help the Witaszeks find a donor.

“We’re reaching out to anyone who would consider it,” Sharon said. If you or someone you know would consider becoming a donor, you can fill out Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s donor questionnaire.

Moreover, we’re hoping that more people will see this and take a long look at becoming an organ donor. It’s the most important gift you’ll ever give — the gift of life.

Here are some statistics on organ donation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s organ donation program:

  • Every day, 79 people receive organ transplants, but 22 people die waiting for transplants that can’t take place due to a shortage of organs
  • Every 10 minutes, another person just like Chuck is added to the waiting list
  • People of all ages can donate — no one is too old or too young
  • People with medical conditions may still be able to donate
  • There is no cost to you or your family when you become an organ donor

You can read much more about organ donation, and register as an organ donor at www.organdonor.gov.

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