February 14th Is National Organ Donor Day

national organ donor dayWith last month being National Blood Donor Month, we would like to continue in the spirit of helping the medically needy. Most people think of roses, candy, and who will be their Valentine on February 14th. This day holds more meaning than celebrating Valentine’s Day since it is also National Organ Donor Day. It’s a day to educate people on organ donation, encourage people to sign up, and become organ donors to give the gift of life.

To honor National Organ Donor Day, The Original 1-800-Charity Cars, a nationwide vehicle donation program, would like to share a personal story from one of our very own staff members, to help spread awareness about making the decision to become an organ donor.

This is a glimpse into our Site, Social Network, and Content Administrator Michelle Key’s personal story about how she made the choice to become an organ donor and how you can become one too:

I was 24 years old, a new mother of a beautiful baby girl, and had never thought about organ donation. My daughter was very sick and her condition rapidly worsened by the day within the first few weeks of her life. After 5 weeks and countless trips to the pediatrician, I had to take her to the emergency room. It was that night that my life would change forever and organ donation became a thought that would be a part of my life from that day on.

My daughter was sent by ambulance to the Children’s Hospital and it was on that very night I was told my daughter had a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia and would ultimately require a liver transplant. At the tender age of 5 1/2 weeks old, Doctors performed an operation called a Kasai Procedure. While the operation was successful, she underwent countless subsequent procedures/operations, blood transfusions, suffered infections, and spent the majority of the first year of her life in and out of the hospital.

Once her health was stable enough, we traveled from Marietta, Georgia to the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio for multiple tests and to register her for a liver transplant. I found out through testing that I was not a match to be a living donor for my daughter to give her part of my liver because we did not share the same blood type. I am RH negative blood type and she is RH positive blood type. It was devastating to me as a mother to know I could not help my daughter.

However, I did stop and think about how, if, and when the day came that my daughter needed a liver transplant that someone somewhere would have to be willing to be a living donor or donate the liver of a loved one they lost to help save my child. It was at that moment I came to the realization that being an organ donor was something important and, even though I could not help my own child, I could help save the life of someone else so I signed up to become an organ donor.

My daughter was one of the very few children at the time of her initial operation back in 1995 who not only survived, but went on to make it without having a liver transplant. I am now 42 years old and she is 18 years old and we count our blessings each day that she makes it without the need for a new liver, but also with the understanding that her medical condition can change at anytime. If or when it does, it will be through the generous gift of an organ donation that my daughter will be able to live.

Sometimes it takes people being personally touched by a tragic situation or an illness to realize the importance of being a part of something bigger than themselves and helping others in times of need or, in the case of organ donation, saving another person’s life. Sadly, many people miss out on helping others in need or saving a life because they don’t stop and think about the bigger picture or they have not been directly touched by circumstances that open their eyes to a specific need or cause.

All it takes is a few minutes to sign up to become an organ donor and give another person the gift of life. Please take a few moments today to visit http://www.organdonor.gov/about/data.html and read the statistics and see how real the need is for organ donors. Once you’re ready to take that step and become an organ donor, visit http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/stateregistries.html, choose your location and sign up for your respective State’s donor registry.

If organ donation is not something you are interested in, you can also give the gift of independence to a struggling family in need of reliable transportation. The Original 1-800-Charity Cars has been providing reliable transportation to people in need since 1996. You can help change the lives of struggling families by making a monetary donation or vehicle donation to 1-800-Charity Cars today. To donate a truck, car, RV, or boat in any condition, running or not – with free towing provided nationwide, just give us a call at 1-800-CHARITY (1-800-242-7489 x 2) or use our easy online car donation form. To make monetary donations through JustGive or PayPal, visit www.800charitycars.org.