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Organ donation saves lives – here’s how to sign up

doctors working
(Image: VPM News Focal Point)

April is National Donate Life Month established by Donate Life America and partnering organizations. Lara Malbon, executive director of Donate Life Virginia, says it is easy to become an organ donor, “We all have the potential to save lives. One person can save up to eight lives and heal 75 others by checking a box at the DMV.” Other ways to sign-up include visiting the Donate Life Virginia website or you can register to become an organ donor on the iPhone health app

To become a live organ donor, Malbon recommends contacting your local transplant center, “from there, they will begin the process of answering all of [your] questions and part of that will be a full physical evaluation as well as a mental evaluation.” While there can be risks to living organ donations, Malbon says there is a great need, “right now there are 2,600 people waiting for that lifesaving organ transplant in Virginia.” 

 

To learn more about deceased and living organ donations visit Donate Life Virginia. 

organ donation stats
Graphic courtesy of Donate Life Virginia

TRANSCRIPT

Angie Miles: Donate Life is the country's leading advocacy group for organ donation. It's headquartered here in Richmond. April is National Donate Life Month. Joining us in the studio today is Lara Malbon, head of Donate Life Virginia. Thanks for being here Lara.

Lara Malbon: Thank you for having me.

Miles: I was speaking with a father recently, an organ recipient, who said it's hard to express the good that a person can do by checking a box. Can you talk about the power of organ donation?

Malbon: We all have the potential to save lives. One person can save up to eight lives and heal 75 others by checking a box at the DMV. So, we encourage people the next time they are at the DMV, when they see that they can register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor, that they do check the box. But you just don't have to do it at the DMV, you can also do it online at donatelifevirginia.org or if you have an iPhone you can open up your health app and register there.  

Miles: Okay, so DMV, online and on your phone. Okay, now we just saw a story about a living organ donation. That's helped a father or excuse me a mother and son to have more time together. What's the difference between signing up by checking that box and being a living organ donor?

Malbon: So, when you sign up at the DMV, you're registering to become a deceased donor. But right now, there are 2,600 people waiting for that lifesaving organ transplant in Virginia. So, another way to save lives is to become a living donor. Where you can donate one of your kidneys or a part of your liver.  

Miles: Okay, we have two kidneys, donate one, two people get to live a long healthy life, right? And then with the liver, which regenerates very easily, it's just a portion of the liver that's taken. And, and then in two people, the liver generates again, right?

Malbon: Correct, correct.

Miles: Okay.

Malbon: And you have the potential to save lives by doing that.

Miles: Okay, it seems that the pandemic may have made it a little bit more difficult for people to be involved in this way to become organ donors. But hopefully we're seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Are you anticipating that we may see more people step up then.

Malbon: We hope it's something that people will consider and if anyone is thinking about it, we really encourage them to contact their local transplant center. And from there, they will begin the process of answering all of their questions and part of that will be a full physical evaluation as well as a mental evaluation.  

Miles: Okay, because there are some requirements and there are some risks involved with being a living donor.

Malbon: Yeah, there are some risks. It is a surgery, but we encourage you to talk about that with your transplant center because it can answer all questions about it.

Miles: But you have to be at least 18, right?

Malbon: At least 18.

Miles: And in good health.

Malbon: And in good health.

Miles: Thank you so much Lara for being with us to share this lifesaving information.