In observance of April as National Donate Life Month, Our Lady of Victory Hospital will welcome Laurie Hagene, a development specialist with RTI Donor Services. Laurie will be on hand to answer questions about organ and tissue donation and how people can register to become a donor. This event will take place Wednesday, April 7 from 8 a.m. to noon in the OLVH Atrium.
Laurie is looking forward to her visit. “Our Lady of Victory staff members enthusiastically support donation,” she said. “They understand how meaningful tissue donation can be for families who have lost loved ones and are motivated to help others.”
Laurie will be bringing a special quilt honoring the contributions of tissue donors and their families. The quilt will be on display April 7–19 in the atrium. It is part of the effort to create donation awareness.
The colorful quilt features squares for 16 tissue donors, whose families consented to donation of their bone, skin, heart valves, veins, ligaments and tendons. Gifts of tissue are used in more than 1 million surgeries routinely performed each year in the United States alone.
Many more people are eligible tissue donors than who are organ donors, Hagene said. Organ donation usually takes place when brain death has occurred, and transplants must be performed within a short time afterward. Tissue can be recovered within 12 to 24 hours after death and preserved for later use.
“Research has shown that more than 90 percent of Americans believe tissue, organ and eye donation is the right thing to do,” said Hagene. “Yet only 30 percent of those same individuals have properly documented their decision to donate according to their states’ laws and donation processes.”
In Wisconsin, you can go to the new online registry at www.YesIWillWisconsin.com to legally authorize donation. Anyone older than age 15½ with a Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card can register. You may also sign up when you apply for or renew your driver’s license or ID.
Documenting your donation decision on the Donor Registry ensures your decision is legally binding and does not require the consent of any other person. The Registry allows donation professionals to quickly confirm a person’s donation decision, share that decision with a person’s family, and work with them to honor that choice – saving precious minutes for those waiting for a life-saving transplant.
There are 105,000 people on waiting lists for organ donations in the United States. Hundreds more wait for their sight to be restored through eye donation and thousands wait for the chance to live without pain through a bone or soft tissue transplant. Eighteen people will die today because they didn’t get a transplant in time.
RTI Donor Services is a not-for-profit tissue recovery network dedicated to serving donor families and the donation community in perpetuating the circle of life. In addition to offering families the option of tissue donation, RTI Donor Services supports their wishes as a responsible steward of human donated tissue gifts, provides family services, and offers community information and awareness. RTI Donor Services may be accessed through the Internet at www.rtidonorservices.org.