Several Americans die each day while waiting for a donated organ. In New Mexico, 556 people are currently on the waiting list for a kidney.
A few days ago, a young man from Vail, Colorado, died in an avalanche at Taos Ski Valley. He was already a registered organ donor. Corey Borg-Massanari's last act on earth, because of his caring forethought, gave new life and hope to 11 other people, strangers he will never know.
The doctors, nurses and other staff who cared for the 22-year-old in his final hours and then ensured his organs were safely transported to awaiting recipients lined the halls at University of New Mexico Medical Center in Albuquerque to pay their respects to the skier. They understood the vital gift Corey had provided at the inordinately high price of losing his young life.
Other organ recipients have been helped by the courageous acts of living donors. Lita Mathews, cofounder of the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, received a new liver from a living donor, according to New Mexico Donor Services. Kidneys and portions of livers are the most common type of organ transplant from living donors. More than 6,000 people across the nation are registered as living donors. Their willingness to step forward helped speed up life-saving transplants for those in need. Some of the donors are friends and family of the recipient; others are strangers who happen to be a match.
It's not just heart, lungs, kidneys and livers needed to help patients. Patients need donations of tissue, eyes and marrow.
Several Americans die each day while waiting for a donated organ. In New Mexico, 556 people are currently on the waiting list for a kidney, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dozens more are waiting for cornea, heart, liver or other kinds of transplants. All of us can help by registering now as organ donors.
Feb. 14 is National Donor Day. It is a great time to participate in a blood or bone marrow drive or register as an organ donor.
"To give life as your last act on earth, there's not too many things more amazing than that," says Mark Rodríguez, an organ recipient, in a video on the New Mexico Donor Services website.
That's the gift Corey left for 11 other people.
We can all do the same.
To register as a donor, go to DonateLifeNM.org. You can also register as an organ donor when you renew your driver's license.
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