Valentine’s Day has a new meaning when you need an organ transplant to survive. 120,000 Americans currently waiting for precious organ transplants depend on the public to sign up with their state’s organ donor registries on National Donor Day every February 14. It’s a more concrete way to show love than giving heart-shaped candy, roses and red velvet teddy bears. By donating organs such as corneas, tissue, marrow, platelets and blood; you create a living legacy of your generosity with the ultimate gift of love.
National Donor Day timeline
Spanish doctors performed a successful full face transplant
The first successful full face transplant made medical history at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Spain.
The National Kidney Foundation initiated a new campaign to increase donor participation
The National Kidney Foundation kicked off its dramatically-named END THE WAIT! campaign with a goal of increasing organ donations.
A U.S. government health agency started a hospital program to increase organ donations
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiated the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative to expand organ donor best practices in the nation’s largest hospitals.
Living organ donors reflected a new successful transplant milestone
For the first time in the United States, the number of living donors exceeded the number of deceased donors.
Federal employees were encouraged to donate organs without losing pay
Congress passed the Organ Donor Leave Act, allowing federal employees who serve as living organ or marrow donors to receive paid leave.
How to Observe National Donor Day
Register as an organ donor
It's easy to register as an organ donor by either signing up online or in-person at your local state Department of Motor Vehicles office and there's no charge either to you or your family. When you register, show your driver's license or other authorized picture identification. Note that you don't have to carry or show your donor card as long as you're registered as a donor with your state and you always have the right to change your mind. Should you die in a hospital or after being on life support, the hospital then arranges for your donation.
Join a Donor Dash
All around the country on National Donor Day, Donor Dash fundraising events will be in full swing. The Donor Dash is a fun-filled 5K run/walk event that honors the lives of organ and tissue donors and recognizes those who continue to wait for transplants. Participants not only run and walk together but they share their stories and resources to keep hope alive.
Sew a quilt square
In some communities throughout the country, National Donor Day is a time to gather a group of donors to sew quilts honoring organ donors and recipients. For example, the Rocky Mountain Threads of Life are a group of quilters in Wyoming and Colorado who make beautiful quilts as a tribute to the people involved in this exchange of life. Later, the quilts are displayed at special community events.
We're Correcting 5 Reasons Why People Say "No" To Organ Donation
I just haven’t given it any thought
If you consider the thousands of people waiting for transplants; your organ donation can keep one person from dying of organ failure every day.
I'm not supporting the consequences of someone's negative lifestyle
The truth is that only about 5 percent of those waiting for an organ transplant are drug abusers or alcoholics.
I have diabetes so I don't think I can be an organ donor
Here's the real deal — you can donate organs even if you have diabetes, and some donor recipients have even become donors themselves.
I don't have time to sign up
It's easy to register online, and consider this — if your organs were failing, wouldn't you want someone to make time for you?
I think I'm too old to donate
You're never too old to save someone's life with an organ donation.
Why National Donor Day is Important
It promotes a different outpouring of love
National Donor Day was chosen as the perfect day for Americans to show their love for people waiting for organ transplants. On this day, the public is encouraged to help the many thousands of organ transplant patients by joining an organ donation registry. Did you know that as an organ donor you can save up to 8 people or heal more than 75 lives with your eye and tissue donation after you die? That's an amazing way to express your love for humanity.
It gives you control over your final wish
By joining a donor registry, you declare your intention to donate your organs, eyes or tissue right after you die. Sometimes families don't always understand why donating organs is important, so once you decide to join a donor registry, discuss the decision with your family to ensure your last wish is honored. It's also wise to put your wish in writing, instructing your family to provide information and documentation on your medical and social history. Being proactive today wisely prepares your family to follow through on your commitment without undue stress.
It replaces myths with accurate information
There are currently more people awaiting transplants than in years past. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about becoming a donor or joining a donor registry so it's important to get the facts. For example, some people believe that certain illnesses or physical defects will keep you from being a donor which, with minor exceptions, is false. Other people think that physicians won't try hard to save your life if they know you're a donor, which discounts the number one priority for doctors — saving lives.