Are You an Organ Donor?

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Today there are 100,000 people waiting on a life-saving organ transplant - unfortunately though, 18 people die each day simply because they can't wait any longer. That's why the Louisiana Hospital Association and the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, or LOPA, have partnered on a campaign to increase the "Donate Life Louisiana Registry" by ten percent this year.

This donor registration drive is the first of it's kind in the entire country.  Lake Charles Memorial Hospital Resource Coordinator, Debbie Lacassin says, "One donor can save up to nine lives, can enhance up to 50 people's lives through tissue donation, as well as give sight to two people and like a donor mom told me once: if a firefighter was to pull out five people from a burning home, what you call that firefighter? A hero...and that's how she talks about her son, because he saved five lives through organ donation."

One living testament to the value of organ donation is 7-year-old Christopher Kahn - alive today because of a heart transplant he received when he was a baby.  "I was born with a broken heart," says Christopher, "40 days later I got a new one."

Madeline Kahn is the mother of Christopher and she still tears up when she talks about the gift of life a donor gave her son.  "Out of a very horrible, terrible, grief-stricken situation, you can bring life and hope to another family," says Madeline.

Just to show you the gap between people in need of organ transplants and those who were donors last year, here's a look at the numbers:

*1,800 people were on the waiting list and 152 people had their organs donated

Lacassin says now is the best time to have the conversation with your loved ones about your wishes to donate.  If you have any questions about the Donate Life Louisiana Registry, you can call 1-800-521-GIVE.