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Friday, October 5, 2012

You ought to donate your organs!

New legislation in New York is trying to increase the amount of donors:
New Yorkers getting a new driver's license will have to make a choice about whether to be an organ donor, a measure meant to boost sign-ups.
Quite some years ago, one of my professors drove frantically to Seattle hospital from southern Oregon. He was next in line to receive a heart that just came in. Three years before this visit to the hospital, he was given two years to live. His heart was increasingly less operable every day and, after multiple heart-attacks, bypass surgery and plenty of medication, he was going to die unless he got a new heart.

And he did get a new heart. But it was not until three days after his transplant operation that he found out to whom he owed the gratitude. It was a fourteen year old boy who was playing Middle School football. He died from a brain injury. It was the boy’s parents, in that moment of indescribable grief and undue urgency that made the decision for their son’s organs to be donated. That difficult decision to have your son, the boy you would die for, cut upon and harvested was one that expressed love for others too. It was that decision that saved the lives of five people that day. Nineteen people die every day from waiting, but never receiving, an organ transplant.

In reflecting on this situation, my professor is always struck by the sobering reality that someone had to die in order for him to live. This is not too dissimilar from the Christian story, where Jesus died so that we may live. That is why Christians have a moral obligation to be organ donors. Let even your death be an act of charity, so that when you die, others may find life.