Healthy Living: Donate Life Month encourages Americans to become organ donors

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If there's one thing this pandemic has taught us, it's that life is too short. April is Donate Life Month with a renewed push to encourage Americans to become organ donors.

Much like a blood donation, it’s an act of compassion, all to save someone’s life. It’s your final gift, to a person who desperately needs a healthy organ no longer of use to you. 

Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director with Regence, says 22 people die every day who have been waiting on the organ donation list.

"There are 106,000 Americans on an organ donation list today," Dr. Oliveira said. "1,600 of them are Washingtonians and a new person goes on that list every 10 seconds."

If you’re not of them, you probably have heard of some of the discouraging misconceptions, like you have to be a certain age. That’s not true – people of all ages can donate. 

Some people worry if it will cost them money. It won't you a thing to donate your organs.

The biggest misconception is this one. If you’re a registered donor – it might impact the kind of medical care you receive in the case of an emergency. That’s 100 percent false. 

Dr. Oliveira says being a registered donor does not affect your medical care in any way. 

"Registering can give your family certainty," he said. "Many people die unexpectedly and that is not the time for your family to have to decide what to do related to organ donation so you can give that gift to your family of making that decision known."

To register, you can do so when you get your driver's license or renew one. Or you can sign up with LifeCenter Northwest.

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