On Valentine’s Day, traditionally, we share our feelings of love with heart-shaped boxed chocolates, cherub cards and pastel-colored conversation heart candies. But, did you know that February 14th is also National Donor Day? For some, their loved one’s legacy lives on through organ and tissue donation and this is a day to remember their heroic act of signing up to be organ, eye and tissue donors. As the conversation hearts prompt us to share our feelings of love, National Donor Day can be the perfect occasion to have a heartfelt conversation with loved ones about organ donation. So, start a new tradition and have a #HeartConversation this Valentine’s Day by sharing your decision to sign up to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor after death. Here are three great tips get started.
Tip #1: Be prepared with information about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.
Did you know that just one donor can save the lives of up to 8 people through organ donation and save and heal more than 75 people with tissue donation? That’s an amazing fact isn’t it? Nearly 2,000 Coloradans and Wyomingites await life-saving transplants. Share the facts about organ, eye and tissue donation with your family and don’t forget to include your children. If they are in middle school or high school, ask if their teacher knows about the Transplantation Science program from Donor Alliance. If their teacher is not familiar with it, share this STEM Program opportunity with them or their school.
Tip #2: Know the difference between signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor and other legal documents.
Registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor through your state’s donor registry is the best way to designate your decision to be a donor after death. Making the decision to sign up as an organ, eye and tissue donor in advance can help relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of great crisis or grief. Donor families have told us that having conversations with their loved ones about their donation decision helped them feel comforted during that difficult time.
After you sign up on your state’s donor registry, you can chose to add your decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor after death to other legal instructions or documents as well–such as living wills or advance directives. Remember, registering to be a donor is a decision you make about your end-of-life planning. If you don’t have the heart symbol on your license that means you are not registered. You can sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at any time, by going online and visiting Donate Life Colorado or Donate Life Wyoming.
Tip #3 Include others in your decision when you have the #HeartConversation.
Once you have had the important conversation with your family and loved ones, you could also consider including your primary health provider, faith leader and friends in your #HeartConversation. Whenever you take stock of those you love, consider having the #HeartConversation with them.
Remember to cherish the ones you love and honor the heroic family, friends and neighbors who said yes to organ, eye and tissue donation. Share the love this Valentine’s Day, and make your decision to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue known to your loved ones.