Organ Donors: The Most Charitable Bodies in Town

Every time I go to renew my license, I face a moment of truth – you know the one. The application asks you to check whether you want to be an organ and tissue donor. It’s worded in a most compelling way – something along the lines of “Donate Life.” The corresponding plea goes on to say how your donation can save the lives of 8 people, and that more than 20,000 people in California alone are on a transplant list. It makes it hard to say no.

Now, I know checking a box and getting a pink sticker that says Organ Donor on my drivers license isn’t legally binding. But still – it causes me to question: what does happen energetically if your body parts and bones get dispersed – and even more mindblowing, if those same parts are transplanted into someone else’s living being?

It also calls into question something deeper, and it’s this: if someone is on the path to dying, what role should science and medicine intervene…?

Then I think of the living – a dear friend of mine who lost her sister as she desperately waited for a liver donor, and less pressing, my partner, who a few years back had a cervical spine fusion, and received a bone graft from a cadaver. I’m sure all around the world there are hundreds of thousands of stories like these. In fact, I read one this morning – an inspiring story about a 13-year-old who met the family of her liver donor. Read it here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40851697/ns/health-health_care/

Rationally, I see transplants as ultimate form of recycling. And making that decision to donate is the highest form of philanthropy. It’s a way that we, in death, can continue to care for the living, regardless of whether that’s our responsibility.

So – as of now – according to my driver’s license and in my Will – I’ve agreed to do it. I checked the box. I got the pink sticker. I admit – something about “walking the talk” gives me the willies, but it is what it is. I’m attached to the idea of my body while I’m in it, but I feel sure I won’t need it when I die.

If there’s anyone out there who does, and part of me can contribute to a life force in some way, well then, that makes any feelings of discomfort I have when I’m alive worth it.

What do you think? Are you an organ donor? What issues does this bring up for you or your family? I want to know.

About Elaine

Elaine Gast Fawcett helps grantmakers, nonprofits and businesses tell their story, market their mission and attract more support.
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2 Responses to Organ Donors: The Most Charitable Bodies in Town

  1. Deborah Jo Diamond says:

    I’m an organ donor. In my ethics class in psychology grad school the issue came up about the possibility of a doctor, needing a donation, taking less care to save a life. Apparently this happens internationally. I’m still a donor. I have to trust my good intentions will be met with the same.

  2. Jenny Cain says:

    I am a donor. However, when my daugther got her ID card they asked about her becoming a donor and I really hesitated. I am fully open and eager to have my own organs and such given to those in need, but the idea of my baby being cut up inspires a totally different feeling. Since then, I told my parents that while I want my parts donated I understand that if they (my parents, not my parts) are asked and they cannot handle having me cut up, then I want them to do whatever they are personally able to do.

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