Organ Donation Awareness Month

Organ Donation Awareness Month
By: Wes Wallace
 
Currently, more than 90,000 Americans wait for an organ transplant. In Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois, the number is closer to two thousand. In Cape Girardeau alone, about one hundred people are in need of a donation.
There's an obvious need for donors, that's why Dani Dunn wants to spread the word.
"I'm a mom to my two children," says Dunn, "I'm also very much a donor mom."
That's because after Dani's 15-year old son Aaron McKinney died in a car accident about two years ago, the family chose to donate his organs.
"It's something we as a family knew and decided long before then," explains Dunn, "Aaron's very much about helping other people, so we knew he wanted to donate."
Aaron donated both kidneys, his pancreas, and his liver. That recipient passed away, but Dani Dunn says the others are doing just fine. In fact they're off insulin and dialysis.
"He also gave two people the gift of sight, and was a tissue donor for between 50-75 other people," states Breita Church, with the Mid-America Transplant Services.
Church and Dunn both want to spread the word about the importance of organ donation. April is Organ Donor Awareness Month.
"It just takes a moment to fill out a registry card or to say yes at the driver's license bureau," comments Church, "So many lives can be touched and saved, simply by becoming an organ and tissue donor."
Dani Dunn keeps a scrapbook of pictures, memories, and even letters from recipient families Aaron helped out, and she says it's definitely just one way of keeping his memory alive. "It still doesn't bring Aaron back. I don't feel he's still "quote unquote" living, but I look at it this way. If something tragic had to happen, at least something good came out of it all, because it really honors his life."
Both women encourage potential donors to tell their families of their wishes. In the state of Missouri, families get the final say when it comes to organ donation. Other states have different laws and regulations.
Next Monday-Tuesday, April 17-18, there will be a donor registration drive at Fitness Plus in Cape Girardeau.
For more information on the subject, you can check out www.mts-stl.org