Tuesday, November 11, 2003

National Donor Sabbath

November 14-16 is the eighth annual National Donor Sabbath. It's an effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Transplantation to get churches and faith-based organizations involved in increasing awareness of the critical need for donation of organs and tissue.

This is a wonderful effort. Unfortunately, 20 years of efforts to increase awareness have left us with an organ shortage that continues to get larger every year. Why? Because just about everybody is already aware of the critical need for organs. We don't need more awareness. We need more donors.

Until LifeSharers came along, every effort to increase the number of donors used the same message: "do it because it's the right thing to do." That message hasn't worked well enough to reduce the organ shortage.

Just about everybody knows that organ donation is the right thing to do. Just about everybody says they support organ donation and would want to be a donor. But only about 30% of Americans have actually signed up to donate. So too many organs that could save lives get buried instead.

Signing up to be an organ donor means thinking about your own death. It's not surprising that lots of people put it off, particularly when the only reward is the warm feeling that you might be doing something good for somebody else some time in the distant future. LifeSharers appeals to a different motivation -- self preservation. By joining LifeSharers, you do something good for yourself. You improve your chances of getting an organ if you ever need one. You also do something good for others. It's the right thing to do.

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