The Importance of Organ Donation

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By Susan Heckler

Many people don’t understand the importance of organ donation until they or someone they love is in dire need. The gift of life they need has to come from somewhere.

The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is committed to increasing the number of lives saved through research, donor family support, education and public awareness about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. NJ Sharing Network itself saves lives through organ and tissue donation. Their staff is responsible for recovering organs and tissue for those in need of transplants. They provide support for the families of organ and tissue donors to help them continue to honor the legacies their loved ones have created.

Why should you be an organ donor?

One organ donor can save up to 8 lives.

Transplantable organs include heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and intestine.

Your decision to donate could save and enhance more than 50 lives.

Donation will not interfere with your medical care or burial arrangements.

There are no costs associated with organ and tissue donation.

Most religions support organ and tissue donation.

Many donor families are comforted knowing their loved one’s legacy lives on through others.

More than 122,000 people are waiting for transplants in the U.S. including nearly 5,000 right here in New Jersey.

In addition to organ donation, there is also tissue donation. Did you know?

•  Donated corneas help restore sight.

•  Bone grafts, ligament and tendons are used to repair injured or diseases bones and joints.

•  Skin grafts heal burn victims and are used for breast reconstruction post- mastectomy.

•  Healthy heart valves are life-saving to those with diseased valves.

22 people die daily waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. There are currently 2.5 million registered donors in New Jersey, only about 1/3 of potential donors.  That is an amazing amount, although only 1% actually become donors as the circumstances and timing has to be perfect. Even if you are a donor, family members can needlessly delay the process because your intentions were not made clear to them.

Think you are too old?  Too young? Anyone has the potential to be an organ donor regardless of medical history and age. Organ donors as young as a few days old to adults in their 90s have given the Gift of Life through organ donation!

Want to help now? Join the 5K Walk/Run on August 21 at Brookdale Community College, 765 Newman Springs Rd in Lincroft where NJ Sharing Network’s Annual 5K Celebration of Life brings together thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers to honor those who gave, pay tribute to those who received, offer hope to those who continue to wait and remember the lives lost while waiting.

To learn more, or are interested in participating in the 5K Celebration of Life, contact  5k@njsharingnetwork.or 908-514-1761. You can also visit