The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recognizes National Donor Day

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) -An organ, eye and tissue donor can save and heal more than 100 lives. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has recognized February 14 as National Donor Day, which highlights the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation.

According to Live On Nebraska, a local nonprofit dedicated to saving and healing lives through organ, tissue and eye donation, there are over 300 people in Nebraska waiting for an organ transplant. In 2022, more than 600 people gave the gift of life through organ and tissue donation.

Live On Nebraska is one of 57 organ procurement organizations across the country. Their service area includes all of Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, Iowa. They work to retrieve organs and tissue for transplantation, maintain and grow the Nebraska donor registry, and provide education on the importance of donating.

Nationwide, there are over 100,000 people on an organ transplant waiting list. Twenty people die every day because they don’t have an organ at their disposal. About 85% of these people need a kidney.

Organs are matched based on compatibility, distance from the donor, and recipient urgency. They are never matched based on someone’s race, gender, income, or social status.

While organs are most commonly donated after the donor’s death, a living donation is an opportunity to help a person while an individual is still alive. Common living donations include a kidney or part of a liver. Many people don’t realize that corneas, bones, tendons, heart valves, intestines, veins, nerves, arteries and skin can also be transplanted.

Donate Life America notes that 95% of Americans support organ donation, yet only 60% of people nationwide are registered donors. In Nebraska, 54% of people are registered donors.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering registering as a donor:

  • Donation is possible only after all efforts to save the patient’s life have been exhausted.
  • An open casket funeral is almost always possible after the donation.
  • The donation is free for the donor’s family.
  • Almost all major religions support donations.

Signing up as a donor means you may one day help others in need. Anyone 16 years of age or older, regardless of their health status, can register to donate by visiting or registering when they receive their driver’s license or state ID card.

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