Commentary: Make a Difference: Recycle Life

Commentary: Make a Difference: Recycle Life

As you read this, people are dying. When you go to bed tonight, after a long day of having fun and relaxing with your family, the lives of the family members and friends of 22 people will be turned upside down. What if I told you that these deaths are easily avoidable? What if I told you that you have the power to stop them?

Think of five major problems in your community. Is a lack of organ donors on your list? The waitlist is over 110,000 people long, and sadly, 22 people die waiting for a transplant each day. Despite all these deaths, many do not consider donation a major problem simply due to a lack of awareness. This problem has a clear solution: encourage more people to register as eye, tissue, and organ donors. We should not regard this subject as taboo and should instead work together to bring attention to the issue.

For some, the wait begins early. For others, later. Either way, each person on the transplant waiting list anxiously awaits a gift. The gift of life. Organ donation is a beautiful process, where a donor’s organs are matched with recipients on the waiting list. You may be thinking that the wealthy are prioritized because they have the means to pay. Although incorrect, you are not alone in that thought. Wealth, gender, or race is not a factor in the matching of organs. To judge the recipient who is the best fit for an organ, doctors match blood type, geographic location, degree of sickness, and time on the waitlist.

Each registered eye, tissue, and organ donor has the the power to save 8 lives and restore health of 75 others. If a person is declared brain dead and their organs are deemed viable, the search for a suitable recipient begins. A common myth is that doctors will not try as hard to save a patient’s life if they are a registered donor. This myth has no support because the number one priority for doctors is to save lives. They will not let a donor die to save someone else. After brain death is legally declared, not before, doctors are able to discuss the possibility of donation. Another myth is that organ donation will leave the donor’s body disfigured. However, doctors make precise incisions, like they would during surgery. This allows for the possibility of an open casket funeral.

Many vital organs can be donated, including the heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, kidney, and intestines. If you were in need of one of these organs, wouldn’t you want someone to be your donor? If you support the process as a recipient, you should register to be a donor. Over 90 percent of adults are in favor of organ donation, but less than half of those people have actually signed up. Together, we have the power to make a difference and give these people a second chance at life. Together, we must support those in need. Everyday, we sacrifice small pleasures for the greater good, so why not now when it matters most? Why not do one last good deed, one that will really make an impact in the lives of almost 100 individuals. To give someone the ultimate gift, register online at

Ishika Govil, who lives in the Fair Oaks area, is a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She has been a Girl Scout for almost 12 years, and is currently working towards earning her Gold Award. Her project is named "Recycle Life” and her goal is to raise awareness for organ donation and to clear up any misconceptions that people may have.