Facebook and Organ Donation

I mentioned in last night’s post that we’d done a TV interview about the need for organ donors this week. I hadn’t even heard about Facebook’s Organ Donor feature until I got a call Tuesday asking me to do an interview about it. So, in the 10 minutes I had before leaving for the interview, I hopped online to figure it out.

(Here’s a link to the story http://www.abc4.com/content/news/slc/story/facebook-organ-donor-transplant-hoopes/BPsvzgoLDUu1vtEPnzikag.cspx. If you want to watch the video, know that you’ll have to select it from a list of several videos that aired that day. And I recommend that you watch it, just so you can see cute little Patrick.)

It’s pretty simple. Facebook’s new Timeline (replacing your profile page) allows you to add events and information about yourself. And this new feature is one of those things you can share.

You click on “Life Event”, then “Health & Wellness” then “Organ Donor”. And you can share with all your Facebook friends the fact that you have elected to be an organ donor.

So what’s the big deal? Why I did I spend the rest of my day trying to get friends and family to do this?

Well, first of all, there are WAY more people waiting for organ transplants than there are available donors. The push by facebook helps to solve this problem in two ways.

First, it makes it crazy easy to officially register as an organ donor. There are links built into the page for anyone who hasn’t registered yet. And when you share, it puts a link on your page and in your news feeds encouraging your friends to update their registry status and giving them the option to register, too.

Second, it lets you, in a matter of seconds, tell your friends and family of your intentions to be an organ donor.

These two reasons are important because of one simple fact. Once you are in the position to be a deceased organ donor, you are.. deceased. It is your next of kin who makes that choice. But if you haven’t told anyone about your desires to be an organ donor, then they have to make that choice for you.

A couple of clarifications.. registering as an organ donor is NOT registering for live donation. It’s true that 400 living kidney donors are needed in the state of Utah. Livers, lungs can also be donated this way and they are learning about how to donate intestine in adults, even. But this isn’t what this registry is about. This registry is an emergency plan. Would you like to donate your organs if your life were to end unexpectedly?

Registering to be an organ donor doesn’t change the medical care you will receive. But it is one less difficult choice for your family to make.

Age and health problems don’t exempt you from being a donor.

One organ donor can save up to 8 lives. Eye & tissue donation saves and improves the lives of many more.

In the week after this option on Facebook launched, Donate Life saw a 2300% increase in registered organ donors. But I saw the update happen on the pages of less than 20 of my Facebook friends. So there is a lot more work to be done.

So, that’s why Patrick and I hopped on down for the TV interview the other day. Because we have so many friends now whose lives could be improved or saved if we could just help to reduce the need for organ donors.

You’re reading this, so you’re at a computer. Have you posted your organ donor status on Facebook yet?

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