Save a life: Consider organ donation

An increasing number of Ohioans — particularly here in the southeastern part of the state — are beginning to understand you can’t take it with you. The number of people in central and southeastern Ohio who shared the gift of life through organ donation increased by 5 percent last year.

In Washington County, the percentage of the population registered as organ, eye and tissue donors has increased every year, sitting at 58.5 percent by last month.

That is encouraging, but we could do better.

All those gifts of life “wouldn’t be possible without people registering as donors,” said Jessica Peterson, media and public relations specialist for Lifeline of Ohio.

And, while many folks think of organ, tissue and eye donation as just a symbol they allow to be placed on their driver’s license — something they won’t be around to give any thought — living donors are sometimes needed, too. The story of Billy Elliott’s decision to become a living donor of more than half his liver to his uncle, Scott Elliott is an important reminder there are ways to save lives right now, too.

“It truly is a life-changing event,” Scott Elliott said.

That is why organ recipient Tracy Reifer has become such an advocate.

“We have a local group and I’m an advocate with Lifeline of Ohio,” she said. “MOV Gift of Life is also a support system to those waiting for their match, as much as we raise funds to educate people about organ donation we also raise funds to help local transplant recipients, living donors and candidates for transplant.”

Kudos to those who are stepping up and registering themselves as donors. But there is so much need. If you have not already done so, please consider it. You could make all the difference for someone.