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Want to save a life? Just say ‘yes’

Register • Jul 21, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Three years ago on this date I weighed less than 120 pounds. My near 6-foot frame was little more than skin over bones. I could barely lift a gallon of milk with both hands. My doctors said I had two months to live; maybe three, if I was lucky.

Three days later, someone I never met saved my life, just by saying one simple word: “Yes”

When this 40-year-old woman -- whose name I don’t know, who had never met me, who had struggled with drug addiction throughout her life -- went in to get her driver’s license renewed, she was asked if she wanted to be an organ donor. She said yes. And that is the only reason I am alive today. Thank God for today. But there would be NO today for me if not for my unknown benefactor. There would be no column in this morning’s paper. My daughter would no longer have a father. My wife and stepdaughters would never have even met me. I wouldn’t be talking to friends on the phone about the return of LeBron, Johnny Football or the Cleveland Indians. I wouldn’t be talking to friends, or anyone, about anything.

I would be dead.

But I’m not. All because a stranger found the courage to say “yes . No matter what problems she dealt with in her life, my donor did something incredible: She saved another person’s life even as she died. All because she spoke one word: “yes”.

I am amazed at how many people say “no”.

No. 1, if you agree to be an organ donor when getting or renewing your driver’s license, you are not giving your consent to have someone remove a kidney, liver, heart, lung or other organ while you’re still alive and healthy. The only time you donate anything is when you are DEAD. So why would you mind if someone harvested your organs? They’re not going to be providing a great deal of help to you anymore. And they can literally be the difference between life and death in another.

Most of you probably know someone who has had a transplant of some sort, whether it be a heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, lung or whatever.

Stop and realize for a moment that if someone hadn’t agreed to be a donor, that person you know almost certainly would be dead.

Think of one or two people whom you love above all else. Now imagine that they are dying, that only an organ transplant can save them. But no one has donated an organ compatible with them, one their body wouldn’t reject. After they die, you learn thousands of people die each day who could have given your loved one life -- but they decided it was more important for their corpse to have the organs than someone whose life was in the balance.

Frankly, I can’t see why anyone would ever say anything but “yes” when asked if they would like to be an organ donor.

It’s said of the material riches we gather on this earth that “You can’t take it with you”

The same is true of the organs that once gave life to our body.

Once we are dead, they’re of no use to us anymore.

But they can give life to someone else. Next time you get your driver’s license and you come to the part where you have to decide if you want to be an organ donor, just say yes. Someone somewhere who should have been dead will be forever grateful, as will all those who love him or her. And though they may not know you, they will love you, too, forever, for giving someone else life even as yours ended.

Just say yes.


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