Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LifeSharers is not discriminatory

A story about LifeSharers in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram is titled "Organ donation club called discriminatory".

Anyone can join LifeSharers. Membership is free. We welcome everyone, and we turn no one away. Can someone please tell me what is discriminatory about that?

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Dave,

My husband and I were just discussing Lifesharers tonight.

I think it's hard for you to understand why people would feel that way about Lifesharers. It does seem like you have good intentions in solving a problem, but unfortunately your solution actually does more harm than good. In fact innocent people may even die because a Lifesharers member received an organ that could have gone to a much sicker person. I am well educated on the subject Dave because my 6 year old daughter received a liver transplant last year. She was on the waiting list for 2 1/2 years.

Please give careful consideration to the following example. I am not a member of Lifesharers, nor is my daughter, but we are people who would give our organs in the event of our death. Let's say YOU needed a liver transplant, but you were not hospitalized and were still doing pretty well. A member of the Lifesharers group passes away and (through direct donation) offers the liver to you because you are a Lifesharers member. Even though my daughter may have been at the top of the list and hospitalized, with weeks or maybe even days to live, She would not get the liver because you were part of a group who believes you can circumvent the system. It doesn't make sense, and it isn't fair to the 90,000 people on the list who are waiting. Joining Lifesharers basically is a way to "cut in line" in front of tens of thousands of others who have been waiting for organs.

Dave, you are obviously a hard working guy with drive and a go-getting spirit. Your efforts in getting your word out are outstanding. I only wish you could see the damage you are doing with Lifesharers. I think the organ donor shortage problem would be helped significantly if you focused on legislation and awareness instead of divisiveness and exclusivity. It is also important to note that California recently became the 38th state to have a donor registry. You can actually sign up online. It is legally binding and will be a positive step forward to increasing the number of people who are willing to be organ donors in California.

I hope you can really step back and look at your group with an objective opinion. Through the eyes of someone who waited for two years for their precious child to receive a liver but still believes in the system.

Sincerely,

Mika Denny

Dave Undis said...

Mika:

I'm very glad your daughter got a liver transplant. She is one of the lucky ones. More than 92,000 people are on the national transplant waiting list, and more than half of them will die waiting.

LifeSharers does not do "more harm than good." By increasing the number of organ donors, LifeSharers will save lives and reduce waiting times for people on the transplant waiting list. This helps even people who are not members. If I had started LifeSharers earlier, your daughter's wait for a transplant might have been shorter.

In response to your example, it's certainly true that LifeSharers may cause different people to receive organs. We increase the chances of registered organ donors, and we reduce the chances of others. Anyone who wants to increase their chances can join LifeSharers. Membership is free and open to all.

You say LifeSharers isn't fair to the people who need transplants. But anyone who needs a transplant can join LifeSharers.

You suggested I focus on "legislation and awareness instead of divisiveness and exclusivity." First, LifeSharers is neither divisive or exclusive, since it's open to everyone. Second, lots of other organizations have focused (and still are focused) on legislation and awareness. Despite their wonderful efforts, and the expenditure of millions and millions of dollars, the organ shortage keeps getting larger every year. For the sake of the people dying waiting for transplants, new approaches are needed. LifeSharers is one of them.

I hope you and your husband and your daughter will join LifeSharers.