National Donor Day: Give the Ultimate Gift of Love on February 14th – Donate Life!

“The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation.  You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live.” – Myles Munroe

Valentine’s Day is a day centered on one of the greatest things life has to offer—love. It’s a day to do something special for the people near and dear to us, just to remind them that they are loved. However, February 14th is more than just Valentine’s Day. There is something else worthwhile we can do to spread love further than we could ever imagine.  It’s National Donor Day—a day to raise awareness for organ, eye, and tissue donation.  Each of us has the ability to show our love today by doing the most selfless thing possible for people whose lives depend on it.  As you make your Valentine’s plans this week, plan to give the ultimate give of love—register to donate life.


The Stats

The United States needs organ, eye, and tissue donors now more than ever.  Here are some numbers to illustrate why.

  • 120,000+—the number of men, women, and children who are currently on the national transplant waiting list.
  • 30,970—the number of transplants that were performed in 2015.
  • 22—the amount of people who die each day waiting for their transplant to come.
  • 10—the amount of minutes before another person will be added to the waiting list.
  • 8—the amount of lives one person can save by donating organs alone.
  • 3—the number of people out of 1,000 who die in a way that permits organ donation.

These numbers don’t lie.  With the country’s ever-growing population, more and more people are in need of organ and tissue transplants, with not enough donations to go around.  Read on, and spread the word to your colleagues, friends, and family about registering!


What Can Be Donated?

With today’s advancements in medical technology, more organ and tissue transplants are now possible than ever before, with donations from both living and deceased donors. 


  • Living organ donors can donate one lung, one kidney, or a portion of the intestine, pancreas, or liver.
  • Deceased organ donors can donate two kidneys, two lungs, intestines, liver, pancreas, heart, and even the face and hands!


  • Donors are universal with corneal transplants, unlike the matching process with organ donation. You can have any blood type or eye color. 
  • According to the Eye Bank Association of America, more than 1,000,000 people ranging from infancy to 100+ years of age have received the gift of sight from corneal transplants since 1961.


  • You can help up to 50 people by being a tissue donor!
  • Skin, heart valves, veins, cartilage, bone, middle ear tissue, tendons, and ligaments can be stored in tissue banks, and used to restore heart tissue, interchange veins, cover burns, and fix impaired connective tissue and cartilage for others.

Hands and Face

  • Surgeries to transplant the hands and face are called vascularized composite allografts, or VCA transplants, because they graft multiple types of tissue, such as blood vessels, nerves, skin, muscle, and bone.
  • The first hand transplants were performed in 2005, and the first face transplants in 2007.

You Can Also Donate the Following:

  • Blood stem cells
  • Cord blood
  • Bone Marrow
  • Blood
  • Platelets

Donating blood is one of the easiest ways to help others in need, and depending on your eligibility and the type of donation you’re making, you can donate three to 24 times each year!  Find out more information about blood donation, and schedule an appointment here.

Who Can Donate?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, everyone should consider themselves to be potential organ and tissue donors, regardless of their age, health, or religion! Age doesn’t make a difference for deceased donation, and most major religions support it.   Don’t rule yourself out—there is a great chance that you can heal someone or save a life!

There is no age limit for donating or registering.  In fact, the oldest organ donor in the U.S. was a 92-year-old man named Carlton.  After he suffered a brain hemorrhage only nine days before his 93rd birthday, Carlton’s wife and children made the selfless decision to donate his liver.  Thanks to Carlton’s donation, the life of a 69-year-old woman was saved.  Carlton paid it forward, in the best way possible, with the gift of life.

If you’re worried about the possibility of organ donation with a pre-existing health condition or illness, it may still be possible!  Play it safe by registering yourself regardless of your health concerns, and the doctor will be the one to make the final call.  There are very few conditions, like systemic infection or active cancer, which would actually ban a person from becoming a donor.


Who Can Register?

Everyone over the age of 18 can register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor!  You can even specify exactly what you wish to someday donate, and change your preferences whenever you want to.

For minors, many states will still allow individuals under the age of 18 to register as donors, but the minor’s family will make the final decision if the situation arises.

Click here to register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor!

At the end of the day, not one of us knows where life will take us.  We all hope for long, healthy, prosperous lives, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.  However, knowing that we, or our family members, will help save the lives of others when the fateful day comes, seems to make everything just a bit more bearable.  To read the personal life stories of organ donors and recipients, click here.  How do you want the story of your life to be written?  You have the power to make a difference.


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Author: Michelle Adams

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