Editorial: A gift that can save lives

We all understand that when it comes to earthly possessions, we just can’t take them with us when we go. What we leave behind become keepsakes and reminders for loved ones of the time we shared and the life we lived. However there is one possession that too many people do take with them, that could save up to eight lives and help improve the health of up to 75.
April is National Donate Life Month. 
Not only is this a time to think about donating tissue and organs at death, it’s a time to register and discuss this with your family. It’s not enough to register or sign a release on your driver’s license. Your family may still act against your wishes, especially if they don’t know. 
It’s a difficult conversation for most of us. We don’t want to think about death and dying, not for ourselves or our loved ones. But the difference taking the time now can make in the lives of others is more than worth it. 
Most of us are aware of heart and kidney transplants; but, there are also lung, liver, intestines, pancreas, cornea and tissue donation.
One tissue donor can contribute to the health and healing of more than 75 people. That one donor could save up to eight lives.
Tissue donations can come from skin, bone and heart valves. It’s estimated that about 1.5 million tissue transplants are performed every year. 
A website with the US Department of Health and Human Services, organdonor.gov, states more than 120,000 people are waiting for organs; and, the number is rising. “Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list,” the site states.
The site also states 30,970 transplants were performed in 2015. 
Ninety-five percent of US adults support organ donation; but, only 48 percent are actually signed up as donors.
Anyone, regardless of age or medical history, can sign up to be a donor. 
We understand how difficult it can be to confront death and a world without our loved ones in it, however by being brave and selfless today, you can ensure that others get a second chance at life. 
For more information, visit the designation stations located at the Jefferson County tax commissioner’s office and Queensborough National Bank & Trust in Louisville.