Last year, a retired train conductor received a kidney from a toddler. David Gorham was a happy two-and-a-half year old who loved to sing and visit the penguins at the Akron Zoo. Like most little boys, he was enamored with cars, airplanes and other vehicles. When David died, his parents made the selfless decision to donate his organs. LEARN MORE.
Facts and Statistics
More than 115,000 people are awaiting transplants in the United States. Millions more suffer with conditions that can be successfully treated with donated tissue and corneas.
Every 10 minutes a new name is added to the national waiting list. On average, 20 people in the U.S. will die today because an organ isn’t available in time. One organ donor can save eight lives, while one tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 50 people.
In Ohio, there are more than 2,500 people on the national waiting list. Approximately 1,700 live right here in northeast Ohio.
Here are commonly asked questions to help clarify the questions and concerns. If you do not see your question, ask an expert now.
Am I too young or too old to be a donor?
Never rule yourself out. Newborns and older may be considered for organ and tissue donation. In all cases, medical suitability is determined at the time of death.
If the hospital knows I want to be a donor, will the doctors still try to save my life?
Yes. Organ and tissue donation takes place only after all efforts to save your life have failed and your family has been consulted.
Are there any religious objections to donation?
All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and view it as a final act of love and generosity toward others.
If I have a designation on my driver's license, why should I discuss organ and tissue donation with my family?
In Ohio, your decision to be a registered organ, eye and tissue donor makes your donor designation legally binding. This being said, the conversation about donation will be much easier for your loved ones if you yourself have made your end-of-life wishes known to them. Most people that become eligible donors do so as a result of a sudden, traumatic event and many donor families report that donation has given some meaning to their unforeseen loss.
What does organ and tissue donation cost my family?
Donation costs nothing to the donor's family or estate. Lifebanc or the organ procurement organization of the region is responsible for all costs related to the donation process. Medical treatments prior to the declaration of death, funeral costs, memorial services or burial plans remain the family's responsibility.
Will donation affect funeral arrangements?
Highly trained medical professionals recover organs and tissue by way of a surgical procedure that is performed in a respectful manner. In most cases, traditional funeral practices - including open-casket viewing - may follow the donation process if the family so chooses.
Can celebrities or wealthy people use their money and influence to buy an organ or be placed at the top of the waiting list?
Race, age, religion, income and celebrity status are not considered when determining who receives an organ. In fact, it is a federal crime to buy or sell organs in the United States. Donor organs are matched to potential recipients for tissue type, size, medical urgency, time on waiting list and geographic location. This matching process occurs using a UNOS-operated national computerized waiting list.
Will my family know the identity of the organ recipient(s)?
The identities of the donor and the recipient(s) remain confidential. The donor family may opt to receive a letter that confirms the success of transplantation(s) and includes some general information about each recipient. Recipients and donor families that elect to communicate with each other can do so with the help of a Lifebanc Bereavement Coordinator. Please contact 888.558.LIFE(5433) or 216.752.LIFE(5433) for more information on available services.