• Transplantation is the leading form of treatment for many forms of end-stage organ failure.
• Organs and tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone and heart valves. Single kidney is the most frequent living organ donation.
• In 2003 there were:
13,226 deceased and living organ donors;
25,451 lifesaving organ transplants;
5,989 people who died while waiting.
• In 2004 there are:
85,000 on the national organ transplant waiting list, with 2,200 under 18 years old;
53,000 waiting for a kidney;
70 people who receive transplants each day.
Minutes count to people who need organ transplants. Every 13 minutes another name is added to the nation's waiting list of 85,000. Every day 17 people die because an organ couldn't be found — in time.
While these statistics from the United Network for Organ Sharing are alarming, few heed this wakeup call — despite pleas from government health agencies, churches and organizations like the network (see page 23) — and register to donate organs at their death or even during life.
Cynthia Merola is one of the few.
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