February 14 is National Donor Day and puts the spotlight on what is a touchy subject for many people. It also highlights the massive need for organs. Near the end of last year, there were 116,000 people on the waiting list for an organ.

While 95% of people support organ donation, only 54%of people are actually registered as donors. There is a lot of fear and even disgust that surrounds this delicate issue. There are many understandable, but often unfounded concerns. The facts about theorgan donation process are often misunderstood.

If you choose to become an active donor during your lifetime, there’s no need to fear poor medical treatment. Medical professionals’ first priority is always to keep you in good health. And if your organs are to be harvested after you pass away, you can rest assured that your body will still be treated with dignity and respect.

No one likes to speak about death, but this is one of the ways to give a selfless gift to those who need it most.

Why Become a Donor?

As a donor, you can save over 100 lives. Your organs can save up to 8 lives. Tissue donations can improve and even save the lives of up to 75 people. Every 10 minutes someone is added to the waiting list for an organ.

You can become an organ donor or a tissue donor, or both. The choice is completely up to you. You can also make a difference by becoming a living donor.

What is a Living Donor?

A living donor is someone who donates blood. Those who are undergoing a transplant may need blood as well as the victims of various accidents. Living donors can also donate a kidney, a part of their liver, pancreas, intestines, or part of a lung.

Your body can work perfectly well with one kidney, the other organs mentioned are able to regenerate, and your body will make more blood. These organ donations can be for someone specific, usually, a family member as the blood types need to match or they can be given to someone else who needs a transplant.

Blood donation is a simple process that can be done on blood drives or anywhere that offers blood donation services. The blood will be taken to a blood bank and distributed as needed though you can also donate blood to someone specific.

How Can You Register?

There are many ways that you can sign up. Sign up on your state donor registry or sign up at a website like Donate Life America. At the DMV you will also be given the option to become an organ donor when you apply for your driver’s license or get it renewed. If you are still unsure, speak to your physician.

Other Ways You Can Help

Still not completely comfortable with becoming a donor? There are other ways you can help. You can get involved by volunteering and raising funds. You could also host a blood drive or create awareness about the need for organ and tissue donation. You can make a difference!