Americans have power to donate life – April designated as National Donate Life Month

If you could save someone’s life, would you?

If you are one of the 375 people in Hawai‘i who are waiting for a heart, liver, kidney or pancreas transplant, April is a significant month.

That figure increases to more than 95,000 people when the nation’s organ transplant waitlist comes into play.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bryan Baptiste presented a proclamation to Christine Bogee, administrative services director and public education program manager for the Organ Donor Center of Hawai‘i, yesterday.

“In Hawai‘i, there are approximately 375 people who are awaiting transplants,” states the proclamation declaring April 2007 as National Donate Life Month.

Each organ and tissue donor can help up to 50 people with life-saving and life-enhancing procedures, the proclamation continues.

Unfortunately, less than half of the nation’s potential donors say “yes” to help others through organ and tissue donation, states the Organ Donor Center of Hawai‘i Web site.

The need for organ donors is greater than ever, the Web site states. Each day, on average, 17 people on the nation’s transplant waitlist die from the lack of available organs.

Banking on the state’s aloha tradition of caring and compassion for others, the Hawai‘i Coalition on Donation is hopeful to increase the number of organ donors among Hawai‘i residents.

The Organ Donor Center of Hawai‘i encourages residents to make the decision to become an organ and tissue donor, to make a difference by sharing the “gift of life.”

Registering to become an organ donor is simple — visit www.organdonorhawaii.com. A convenient way of becoming a donor is to indicate your intention on a Hawai‘i driver’s license.

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