Organ Donation: A Family Discussion

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthIn honor of International Families Day, Gift of Hope encourages everyone interested in organ donation to join the state organ and tissue donor registry and share their wishes with their closest relatives. By talking to your family now and becoming an organ donor you protect them from having to make a difficult decision during an already difficult time.

Raiza Mendoza, Hispanic Public Relations and Community Outreach Coordinator for Gift of Hope explains: “By signing the donor registry, people ensure that their desire to save lives will be respected while also relieving their families from making an emotional, stressful decision without knowing exactly what their loved one’s last wishes would have been.” According to statistics published by Donate Life America, 90 percent of Americans say they support donation but only 30 percent know what steps to take to become a donor. Today only 42 percent of all potential donors have joined the state organ and tissue donor registry, which legally authorizes the donation of their organs.

An article published by the British Journal of Anesthesia states that when a potential donor’s wishes were communicated (in the form of donor registration on an ODR or prior discussion with family); consent was much more likely to be obtained. According to a study performed by researchers from the University at Buffalo, family consent rates tend to range between 54 percent and 62 percent nationally, depending on the state. In other words, of 100 people asked to donate their loved one’s organs, approximately 40 of them declined. Mendoza says, “A key reason families decide not to donate their family member’s organs is lack of information about the donation process itself, but mainly they are unaware of their family member’s wishes.”

Today, nearly six million Illinoisans have already joined the state organ and tissue donor registry. To register as a donor or get more information, visit or call 630-758-2744.

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