Be a liver, not a fighter

Update: This originally went out as the rough and not the edited version.

I have wanted to bring this issue up for a while because for some reason it is an issue that is close to my heart (eye roll). People, you need to stop being selfish and give away your organs. I am not saying now, but when you are bereft of life. When the daisies need pushing. When you have joined the choir invisible (though I think some of us will be joining the accordion band below).

There are a lot of fears around organ donation. How will my body be treated? Am I too old? Am I too ginger?

I think the biggest fear is how your body would be treated. The body is not mutilated – it is a terrible word but the one everyone uses. Unless you want to be buried shirtless no one will be able to tell. Your wishes will be respected. I, however, have two reasons why I want to be cremated. Firstly, and most importantly, I don’t want my mother taking advantage of that fact that I can’t move to take photos of me. I spent my whole life dodging her camera and I am not about to quit now. My second reason is that I will write a clause into my will saying that the only way my brother gets my money is if he looks after the cats, and puts my urn in a visible place where I can continue to silently judge him. This will, of course, only last until the urn gets knocked over by the cats.

So what can you donate? I have said that they can strip me like a hijacked BMW. It is not all hearts and livers but it goes much further in improving people’s quality of life. You can donate both organs and tissue. Organs are your basic heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and lungs. That is 8 people. I don’t think I even like 8 of my relatives, and my grandmother had 99 first cousins. Tissue includes cornea and sclera, bone, tendons, heart tissue and skin donations. Organs need to be harvested right away but tissue can be collected and stored. Tissue goes a long way in improving the quality of life by restoring sight and helping burn victims. In some cases, tendons can help prevent amputation.

Anyone can be a donor; you just need to be in good health and clear of chronic disease.there are no tests or screening, as this will be done once your organs have been harvested.

Need to know:

  • Let your family know that you want to be a donor. This is probably the most important.
  • It is not easy to be an organ donor. It requires very specific circumstances: you have to be declared brain dead and your organs harvested almost immediately. The organs might also be rejected for various reasons. So the likelihood is quite low, and this is why we need as many donors as possible.
  • Only about 1% of hospital deaths lead to donation. There is more chance of you needing an organ than donating one. In my opinion, if you aren’t willing to donate then you shouldn’t accept. It’s like politics. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!
  • Kidneys are the most needed of the organs.
  • Anyone may register irrespective of sexual orientation, medical conditions or age, as all tests are performed at the time of death to confirm if the organs/tissue may be used for transplantation.
  • You don’t get paid for donating an organ. I tried, but they rejected my brother’s heart on account of him having a pulse.
  • All major religions support organ donation.
  • Being brain dead is not the same as a coma. You can recover from a coma but you can’t if you are brain dead. Unless you are Donald Trump.
  • You are not too old. You are not too ginger.
  • ‘Living donors’ can donate a kidney, or a part of the liver, lung, blood or bone marrow.
  • No doctor is going to give up on you. They will always fight for your life first. No one is going to pull the plug just so that they can charge their phone.
  • People who smoke and drink can still be donors. It’s about the condition of your organs. It’s like a car: the engine might be broken but you can still use the battery.
  • And for the love of chocolate, no one is going to steal your kidneys and leave you in a bath of ice.

What it really comes down to is laziness. I think that people believe it is too much effort to become an organ donor. It really is not. Just click and sign up and you could change people’s lives. Don’t be that guy who will take but not give – you will get grouped with the people who get clamped for parking in disabled bays.

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