EDITORIAL: Make a difference in the new year

·2 min read

Dec. 29—With each new year come new resolutions for many of us. While many of us often resolve — and often fail — to eat better, get more sleep and exercise, how about making a resolution we can actually stick with?

Becoming an organ donor is one of the most selfless and important decisions humans can make. And in 2021, Americans did not disappoint.

On Dec. 17, the United States set a new record when it surpassed 40,000 transplants in one year, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. 2020 was the 10th consecutive year for record-breaking organ donations from deceased donors and the eighth in a row for deceased donor transplants. Dr. Matthew Cooper, UNOS president, said the record number of transplants was a testament to the lifesaving work being done each day for others.

"It is ... a testament to the generosity of so many inspiring donors and their courageous families who gave the gift of life," Cooper said. "This news serves as a reminder that no matter what challenges we face as a nation, our community of doctors, patients, donor families, hospitals, organ procurement professionals and advocates are dedicated to building on past successes to save even more lives. But there is always more work to do."

And while the milestone is something to celebrate, there are nearly 107,000 patients still on the waiting list for a transplant, while 20 people die each day waiting for an organ. Signing up to become a donor is a commitment we all can make. According to the Indiana Donor Network, anyone can sign up as an organ and tissue donor, no matter their age or medical condition. Organs that can be donated include kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreases and small intestines. Tissues that can be donated include corneas, skin, heart valves, bones, veins and tendons.

While New Year's resolutions typically focus on the betterment of ourselves, becoming an organ donor helps more than just one person — as many as 74 more, in fact, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Indiana Donor Network reported that another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes. Consider making a decision to help others and start the new year off right.

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