April is National Donate Life Month

Local Tissue Bank Aims to Raise Awareness for organ and tissue donation, considering only 58 percent of people in the United States sign-up to be donors.

 

Changing a life might be as simple as checking a box.

“It’s a really difficult decision to make, but I promise it’s really important one,” said area resident Zamora Simpson.

After being diagnosed with severe scoliosis, Simpson received a bone graft donation from the full-service tissue bank, LifeNet Health, which has its Pacific Northwest headquarters in Renton. Since receiving the transformative operation, Simpson is determined to spread the word about the importance of becoming a donor.

“The person who donated to me probably didn’t realize how thankful I would be afterward,” Simpson said. “Now that I’m getting older, and I’m 18 now, I’m more understanding of what the donation actually was, and what it means for the donor’s family to give up that part of them to help me live even longer and to have a better life.”

Simpson would not have received this life-changing donation at Seattle Children’s Hospital had it not been for LifeNet Health. This April, LifeNet Health hopes to raise donation awareness through National Donate Life Month.

“Ninety-five percent of people in the United States think donation is great, but only about 58 percent sign up,” said Doug Wilson, executive vice president of LifeNet Health. “What we want people to do, if they think donation is good, is to sign up to be a donor.”

More than 100,000 patients await lifesaving organ transplants, and many more await tissue donations. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list.

“National Donate Life Month is a great opportunity to celebrate those who have given the gift of life, but it’s also good to acknowledge the recipients and their healing process,” Wilson said. “It’s just a good time to understand that what we need are donors. We’ve got all the medicines, we’ve got the surgeons, we’ve got the facilities, the lacking piece of the puzzle is we need more organs and tissues.”

If you are among the many who believe organ and tissue donation is beneficial, the LifeNet Health team encourages people to get online and register to become a donor at donatelife.net. If you are already registered, take National Donate Life Month as an opportunity to have the conversation with friends and family.

For recipients like Simpson, the donation might transform more than just health; she is currently studying to become a nurse.

“(My donor’s) legacy lives on in me, and I can help other people with that person’s legacy.”

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