Right now, in North Carolina, 3,000 people are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants. 2020 was actually a good year for organ donation in NC, according to Carolina Donor Services. 448 deceased organ donors saved 1,193 lives! Also, check out these increases in 2020 over 2019:

  • 18% increase in organ donors
  • 13% increase in lives saved 
  • 12% increase in total tissues recovered
  • 1,582 tissue donors: nearly the same as 2019
  •  LifeShare transplanted more eye tissue

When you choose to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor, you choose to give others life when you have already lost your own. It is a beautiful and life-affirming decision for your grieving family and for the individual who receives your gift of life. Let’s look at the different organ donation types and how you can enhance and even save others’ lives by choosing to be an organ donor.

Organ Donation

Less than one percent of people who die are physically able to give life-saving organs to those in need. The time that organs stay viable for transplant can be very short. If you are part of that one percent, you can literally save a life in your own death. Organs that can be donated after death include:

  • Heart 
  • Lungs 
  • Liver 
  • Pancreas
  • Kidneys 
  • Small intestines 

The skin is technically an organ but is considered part of “Tissue Donation.” 

Facts about Tissue Donation

  • One tissue donor can heal and enhance the lives of over 75 people.
  • More than 1 million tissue transplant surgeries are performed each year in the US.
  • Tissues commonly donated include skin, bone, corneas, heart valves, and veins.

According to Carolina Donor Services, “Donated tissue is used in many daily surgical applications to restore mobility, strength, and hope to people with serious or life-threatening medical needs. Patients with severe burns, defective heart valves, bone cancer, breast reconstruction, and torn ligaments or tendons can all benefit from the gift of donated tissue.”

Those who have lost a large amount of tissue often cannot move their limbs without a tissue transplant. They do not have enough of this life-altering organ to go around their body. The gift of tissue can help give physically damaged people their active life back in so many ways. 

When you choose to be an organ donor, you could be the one giving the ability to move arms or legs again to someone who needs hope again after going through years of pain and immobility.

Facts About Corneal Transplantation

Corneal transplants save vision. A cornea transplant, called keratoplasty, can give vision back and reduce eye pain. If a cornea is damaged, the light rays that pass through can get distorted and change how a person sees. 

When you choose to be a tissue donor, you can give the gift of sight back to someone who has corneal damage. Imagine being struck blind, but then someone chooses to give back your vision so that you can see the faces of your loved ones again. That is the gift of a corneal transplant. 

Register to Give Life

When you register at the DMV, you receive a red heart on your license to signify that you are an organ, eye, and tissue donor. Each of these types of donations are life-changing and life-saving. 

You can also go to Donate Life NC to register exactly which organs you would like to donate. Your family cannot overturn your decision once you are registered. And if you register, your family does not have to worry about whether organ donation is something you would have desired to do.

Organ and Tissue Recovery Process

When someone chooses to give the gift of life, Carolina Donor Services extends great care to each donor out of respect. Before they acquire the tissue or organs, “a moment of honor is observed… to honor the donor and the generosity of the gift being given.” They are also careful and respectful of the body to ensure the recovered tissues’ viability for those in need.

When you give the gift of life through organ donation, the recovery of the organ process happens at the donor services or the hospital, usually within 24 hours of death. After this, the body is respectfully moved to the funeral home of your choice.

Find Help

Here at Renaissance Funeral Home, we work closely with Carolina Donor Services to ensure that families and the deceased are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Giving the gift of life through organ and tissue donation is a decision that we greatly admire. We do everything we can to honor the family’s wishes regarding the memorial or funeral services after the donation process.

We are available for any questions about the process and would also like to give you a tour of our state-of-the-art facility and cremation center. Please check out our podcast with Taylor Anderton of Carolina Donor Services for more information about organ and tissue donation.

Answers to Organ and Tissue Donation Questions

  1. Carolina Donor Services
  2. DonateLifeNC.org