UW Organ and Tissue Donation: Driver's Education Presentation

hi my name is Kay and I am a volunteer for UW organ and tissue donation and I'd like to take just a minute this morning to share with all of you the story of my touch points with organ donation and why I choose to volunteer for ODT and my story started a long time ago real long time ago I was about 24 years old and I was planning my wedding and at the time my fiancee was telling me he needed AI glasses and I was trying to convince him that we didn't have money in the budget for those because I was worried about the dress and the cake and all the things that braids worried about he went to the eye doctor and came back and he looked like it was a lot worse than needing new eyeglasses and he said sit down kay we need to talk I am going blind I have a hereditary eye disease called keratoconus and I'm gradually losing my eyesight and we couldn't believe it and so he went on a transplant list because there was one cure and that was a cornea transplant we went ahead and we were married and he carried a pager with him because back then they didn't do many organ transplants and in 3 months we received a call and he received his first cornea and the cornea is awesome and that you don't have to take medicine it doesn't reject and it just becomes your own cornea we carried a pager for another year and he received his second cornea and at this time he still has both of those corneas and he sees just as well as you and I with the help of some reading glasses we went ahead and had two healthy boys and then I became pregnant with my third son Kevin and we knew from the beginning that there was going to be problems with Kevin medically and when Kevin was 5 years old he needed to have a kidney transplant and kidneys are wonderful because you have two of them and you only need one of them and so you can be a living donor to someone and give the gift of life and so his dad and I went to be tested to be organ donors we both were matches and I was decided his dad would give and I would be the caregiver and so Kevin received the gift of life from his dad and there was an awesome moment because his dad went full circle he went from receiving the gift of sight because he got a cornea transplant to giving the gift of life to his own son the kidney lasted Kevin and did wonderful for him for 10 years but unfortunately transplants don't last forever and so when Kevin was 15 he needed another transplant and I went in to be tested and luckily I was still a match for him and so I donated a kidney to Kevin in 2003 and I can tell you right now I've never missed that other kidney for a moment you only need one and what a wonderful thing it is to be able to give that gift Kevin did okay for a year but we had some complications medically with Kevin and he lost that kidney after a year and needed a third transplant this was going to be a little bit more difficult we had actually 18 people tried to be living donors you can be a living donor related or non related and give Kevin a kidney when we couldn't find a kidney Kevin went on dialysis and Kevin was your age at that time he was 16 and he wanted to be at football games he was going to high school he had three part-time jobs and instead every Friday night had been at the football game or out with his friends he was in the dialysis center while they were taking his blood purifying it with an artificial kidney called dialysis and then he would come home about ten o'clock that evening they approached me to see if I would do home dialysis and trained to do this at home so he could have a more normal schedule and I agreed and reluctantly but I agreed and we went ahead with the process because after all how long could it be maybe six months on the list that the most a year and so we started and we did dialysis for one year we did it for two years I couldn't believe we were still waiting for the kidney we'd been on the list three years we waited four years during that time Kevin went from a high school student with three part-time jobs to just going to high school because he was getting weaker too eventually going to MATC and only trying to take a few classes by the time we got into our fifth year I knew I was losing Calvin and there was nothing that I could do I'd already given a kidney and all I could do was watch him and start to fade away from me it's such a helpless feeling it was about that same time when we were at our very lowest that kevin was on dialysis and got a call from one of his best friends in high school his friend had just returned back from Iraq and called Kevin to get together to play poker on Friday night like they used to do Kevin told him I'll come over after dialysis I haven't gotten a kidney yet his friend couldn't believe that had been five years and Kevin still had not gotten a kidney and he turned when he got off the phone to his mom who had never met Kevin and just said this is unfair Kevin still is on dialysis and he can't find a match his mom didn't even stop for a second she just said well I wondered why I have two kidneys now I know I was always carrying one for Kevin and so she went in positive that she was going to be a match and went to be tested and here she was on your perfect match she lived less than a mile from our house and we had been searching for there was three states trying to get a kidney for Kevin Kevin was transplanted in 2008 and he's got that kidney it's working wonderful and his life has just turned around during this time I started volunteering right after this at OTD but life even throws you more curves and about a year and a half ago I got a phone call from my only brother who lives in Boston and he stated that he had just contacted a rare disease called amyloidosis and it was attacking his heart and he was going to need a bone marrow transplant in order to survive and that was the cure but before he could have that he needed a heart transplant because his heart had gotten so weak and so here I was waiting for another loved one on a list waiting for that precious gift of life I Cory my heart my brother spent nine months in the hospital out in Boston he was listed 1a on the transplant list meaning he was top priority to get a heart but there just aren't hearts available and so after nine months three heart pumps one artificial heart and a lot of waiting and a lot of hoping my brother lost his life waiting for a heart and so it means so much to me that people consider being donors because of the gift of life is such a precious gift that you can give to others I'd like to share with you also this picture of Tyler to show why organ donation is so important Tyler was just about my son's age when he received a double lung transplant and he has graduated from high school and he is now doing wonderfully the numbers they really speak for themselves the great need that there is for organ donation after all there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people in the United States waiting for the call to say that they will be given the gift of life more than eighteen hundred of those are children that are waiting for their transplant every eleven minutes there is someone added in the United States to the transplant list those numbers are just too high and every day unfortunately approximately nineteen people just like my brother pass away while they are waiting for their organ to become available and nothing has happened in time you might ask why we're speaking about organ donation in driver's ed class and the reason is because of this individual her name is Kelly and I'd like to tell you just a little bit about Kelly's story and Kelly was your age she was just gotten her driver's license she had been at the DMV she had gotten her license with her mom and when you go to get your license you're asked if you would like to be a organ donor and Kelly's mom overheard her say well yes that's a no-brainer Kelly went on to get her license and her parents received a few months after she had her license the phone call that no parent ever wants to receive Kelly had been involved in the very serious car accident and the prognosis was not good her parents eventually realized that and were told by hospital staff that they had done everything they could for Kelly and she wasn't going to survive and they were very gently approached by people from OTD and the hospital staff to see if they would be willing to share Kelly's organs so another person could live her mine remembered that Kelly had said at the DMV yes that's a no-brainer and that was the only thing that they could think of that could make any sense of the tragedy that happened to their family and so they went ahead and donated Kelly's organs so that she could live on in the life of others as they talked to friends and family and especially younger people they realized that people weren't aware of organ donation and the need to sign up to be an organ donor and so they went to the legislature and had a bill passed it's called Kelly's law and that law was signed in May of 2000 and it just requires that every driver's ed class has a half an hour of instruction information on organ donation what organs can be donated there are multiple ways that you can help by being an organ donor and it touches so many lives as you know you have two kidneys and so kidneys are donated and you don't have to receive two kidneys I live with only one kidney many people senators are even born with only one kidney and so two recipients can receive kidneys there's also you can donate the liver and the heart lungs there are two lungs and so two people can receive transplants by each one receiving a lung you can also transplant pancreas and this has done many times for people with diabetes with the pancreas and the kidney being donated and sometimes a small intestine and that's usually a surgery that's done for children in addition to the organs which can be transplanted there's also tissue that can be donated and that includes things such as skin and skin would be used to help burn victims in the hospital needing skin grafts it can be transplanting bone and bone can be used for severe injuries it can also be used sometimes when people have cancer and it can avoid having to have an amputation and then we also will use the ligaments the tendons for sports injury and so could a color those are trees those veins and the blood vessels that can be used for people especially during heart surgeries do you also have the corneas which are the gift of sight as my husband had received many years ago there's a difference between organ donation and tissue donation and that is how the person has to pass away in order to have those organs be viable and usable in an a transplant situation and the difference is in organ donation and I really didn't know this until I started volunteering to speak a patient must pass away in a specific way and they must pass away in a hospital and they must be on a ventilator it makes sense because you have to have those organs receiving oxygen in order to be transplanted and so if someone would die at the scene of an accident unfortunately they cannot be an organ donor but you can still be a tissue donor and that's because tissue doesn't have the same criteria and so in tissue you can still be a donor within 24 hours after you pass away and you don't have to be on a respirator and you don't have to be in a heist in a hospital and so this is a life improving the organ donation that you can give to people also organs as I said have to be transplanted into someone very quickly and we have a very short window of time to have that done we want to have the best possible outcome and so the organization of OTD makes sure that everything is handled so that those organs can be get given to the different hospitals where the recipients are waiting in the shortest amount of time they use any means they can it can be chartering a plane it can be using a police escort but it's of essence to have this coordinated as efficiently and as carefully as possible so all the organs are where they should be in the least amount of time as I mentioned when I was talking about the different ways that you can help in the organs and the tissues just think of it this way one person and that's only one person can save up to 8 lives by being an organ donor and you can improve more than 50 lives by being a tissue donor so the impact on one donor actually touches 58 people's lives that's pretty incredible who can be a donor anyone can be a donor you don't have to decide if you're medically okay to be a donor the doctors will decide that for you people should just base our decision on how they feel about donation and the rest rules to be taken will be handled by the medical staff preexisting conditions do not exclude you and people of all ages can be donors this leads me to some misconceptions that there might be about organ donation that I'd just like to touch on for a minute one of them is oh my gosh if I'm an organ donor and they see that orange dot on my driver's license well they work as hard on me as they might unand because there's such a shortage of organs and that's totally untrue there's two different medical teams there's a medical team that takes care of you in the hospital and the medical team from OTD there's only called in after everything possible is done to save your life is there any religion that does not allow organ donation the majority of religious organizations do support donation and viewed as a charitable Act and there's the concern that perhaps this will disfigure the body or interfere with a funeral or open casket and that is not true the people who go out to recover the organs that's done in an operating room as a normal surgery would be done they are so respectful and grateful for the gift that a loved one has given that there is no delay in a funeral and any tissue anything that is done to recover these organs is done work wear clothing would cover the person during the funeral you may ask a question if the family of the person who's been the donors responsible for the surgery and for the cost and know anytime that there is a donation it's the recipients insurance company and the recipient who is who pays for that there's no cost whatsoever to the donor family sometimes people wonder if there'll be any delay with funeral arrangements and that is not the case there's never a delay or interference with a funeral can you pay to get an organ no you cannot it is illegal in the United States to buy or sell in the organ most organs are transplanted locally that's because you want to have those organs transplanted in the in the quickest amount of time and the need is so great there we need organs for heart kidney everything here in our state so the the organ is matched up with the person who needs the organ the most and is the best match and most of the time it stays locally within our area donor families do have the opportunity to meet recipients if they want to this is a process that's handled through the OTD you don't have to meet it depends on the wishes and the needs of both parties but OTD is the middle person and they will make arrangements gift cards or letters back and forth until there's a comfort and perhaps someone does want to meet the other person you might wonder who will decide if you haven't made the decision already to be an organ donor if if you are going to be one and that would be your next of kin or the person who has a health care agent for you you can only imagine at that time when this question is being asked what a comfort it would be to a family if you've already made that decision because normally this situation is something that has come on very suddenly and families have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that they're going to lose a loved one and so to have another decision to make is that much more difficult and so if you I've already made your wishes known that will give a great peace to your family to know that you have wanted to be an organ donor in Wisconsin we have the Wisconsin donor registry and in addition to we always had that little orange dot that was on your driver's license indicating that you wanted to be a donor now in March of 2010 they they launched the donor registry and the Wisconsin donor registry is critical to sign up that one additional step it automatically happens at the DMV when you get your permit when you get your license or when you renew your license you'll be asked if you want to be a donor and if you say yes you're automatically on the donor registry it's so critical because this is a binding contract its first priority consent and your wishes will be carried out this is binding once you reach the age of 18 and so if you're under 18 it's a wonderful idea to have this discussion with your family and when you have that discussion with your family you might also check with your parents and see if their organ donors and if they are if they've renewed their license prior to 2010 they should also go on the donor site and sign up to be a donor and have it be official it's so important to sign up to be a donor and one of the reasons is because less than five percent of the people who sign up to be donors can be organ donors because of the specific way you need to pass away in order to donate your organs again you have to be on a respirator in a hospital that's not true if you want to be a tissue donor you do not have to be on a ventilator and a greater percentage of people can be tissue donors and those are the people who give tissue and that wonderful gift of sight you'll see in front of you on this map of Wisconsin by county the number of people who have signed up to be organ donors and the darker orange the more organ donors in the more people that have been signed up to be organ donors in that County right now we only have six counties that are below 50% and of course the goal is to make that entire map be bright orange after looking at the map you may ask what should I do or what can I do to raise those numbers and you could do the three DS that would be to decide to decide to be an organ donor you can do that when you renew your drivers license or for when you get your driver's license or your permit and you'll be asked that question or you can decide to go onto the website yes I will Wisconsin that time and click the big orange dot and register to be an organ donor document make sure that you have documented with the with the donor registry that your name is on the list and it's legal and discuss it's so important to discuss with your family your wishes and that you do want to be an organ donor that's especially true if you're under 18 years of age because until in your parents can overrule your decision so if you're contemplating being an organ donor have that discussion that's so important have the discussion because so many people depend on you the shortage is there the need is great and I thank you for taking the time to listen because organ donation touches all of our lives

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