While organ transplantation is a remarkable story in the history of medicine, the need for organs is vastly greater than the number available for transplantation.
Any way you figure it, the math doesn’t add up to a promising picture. In 2012, there were more than 115,000 people in the U.S. awaiting an organ transplant – enough to overflow the country’s largest football stadium. Each year, more than 28,000 Americans receive a donated organ, but sadly, more than 6,500 people die each year waiting for an organ.
While many are on the waiting list for years, their number increases at the rate of more than 50,000 people a year, nearly one new person every 10 minutes. Day after day the list and the problem grow. It is, however, a problem with a solution – one that depends a lot on education and selflessness.
Professional snowboarder Chris Klug knows first-hand what the waiting game is like. After being diagnosed with PSC (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis), a rare degenerative bile duct condition, Klug learned that he needed a liver transplant. He spent several years on the waiting list, eagerly anticipating the call that a donor organ had become available.
After a successful surgery and aggressive rehabilitation regimen, Klug won the bronze medal in snowboarding in front of the home crowd in Salt Lake City – just a year and a half after his transplant.
“I’m so blessed to be here today,” Klug says. “I will forever be grateful for my second chance. Every day I thank God and I thank my donor and his family for the decision to donate.”
A new survey released by Astellas Pharma US, Inc. shows that while 60 percent of people are familiar with their state’s organ donor registry and 57 percent would be willing to donate their organs after they pass away, only 43 percent are actually registered as organ donors and 48 percent don’t know how to register.
“We are very encouraged by the number of Americans who view organ donation positively and are willing to donate,” says David Fleming, president and CEO of Donate Life America. “However, knowing the large number of people awaiting a transplant, we are committed to continuing to educate all Americans on the importance of registering in their state, and ensuring they know.”
Registering to become a donor is a simple process that can be completed online or through many local departments of motor vehicles. Transplantation gives hope to thousands of people with organ failure and provides many others with active and renewed lives. Register today to become an organ donor at donatelife.net/register-now.