November 1, 2012

Eye, Organ, [and] Tissue Donation: Can I [or] Can’t I?

As you know myHeart’s mission includes encouraging individuals to become registered eye, organ, [and] tissue donors. Throughout the month of November, myHeart will be highlighting various aspects of the donation process through the eyes of both donor families [and] recipients as we encourage everyone to Give Thanks [and] Give LIFE. 

To kick of the month, I asked our friend [and] fellow heart recipient, DAP, to write this post with me to debunk the common myths surrounding donation. As an active volunteer DAP at the Cleveland Clinic has encountered more than a few of these myths so he seems like the natural choice for this post. 

Let me begin by saying to know DAP is to LOVE him! He is a passionate [and] fierce advocate serving those awaiting heart transplant on a weekly basis at the Cleveland Clinic while never forgetting to encourage others to become registered Eye, Organ, [and] Tissue donors. He is effervescent, magnetic, easy going, [and] oh-so-compassionate. I am privileged to count him a friend [and] forever thankful for his ongoing support of myHeart, yourHands.

You can follow him on Twitter @newheart1293 [and] he blogs at

DAP writes:

I can’t be a donor because I had/have this illness [or] that disease; I am an organ/tissue transplant recipient; I am too old [and] so go the excuses for why people are not registered donors.

Throughout my tenure as a volunteer, I have heard these three reasons countless numbers of times.

The reality is that no one truly knows if s/he can or can’t serve as a donor until said individual has been declared dead [and] the physicians make a determination of one’s eligibility based upon cause of death, integrity of the organ itself, strength of the match criteria, the geographical location of the potential recipient, [and] the decision of the family regarding donation if the deceased was not registered as a donor.”

FACT: Anyone is a potential donor regardless of age, race, or medical history with the exception of those who are known to be HIV positive.

Advances in technology and transplantation medicine occur on an ongoing basis [and] we, the potential donors, are not qualified to determine our eligibility. When you register as an Eye, Organ, or Tissue donor you are communicating to your loved ones or the medical professionals charged with your care that you are not opposed to donation.

Essentially, you express; the experts decide.

With regard to transplant recipients, DAP writes that “in my case [and] based on discussions with expertes in transplantation medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, UCLA, [and] the University of Pennsylvania, I received a heart transplant in 2007 [and] as of today, the doctors are fairly certain that they will never be able to reuse my ‘borrowed’ heart. I also have some renal insufficiency which may mean that my kidneys will be deemed ineligible; however, my liver, pancreas, intestines, [and] possibly my lungs, corneas, bones, [and] tissue may well to eligible to donate. It is my greatest desire for every ounce of me that can be used, be used to benefit others in the same way that my donor’s decision benefitted me.” Don’s battle cry which is shared by myHeart is that YOU become a registered Eye, Organ, [and] Tissue donor. You can register at [or] today.

Other misconceptions [and] inaccuracies that persist among the general population include religious objection, fear that saving one’s life will NOT be the priority, concerns regarding an open casket funeral, [and] cost concerns.

Here are the FACTS:

ALL major religions in the US support Eye, Organ, [and] Tissue donation viewing it as one’s final act of love [and] generosity towards others.

 If you are sick or injured [and] admitted to the hospital, YOU [and] saving YOUR LIFE are THE #1 priority; donation is ONLY consider after you are deceased.

An open casket funeral is possible as throughout the donation process the body is treated with the utmost care, respect, [and] dignity.

Last, but by no means, least, there is NO cost associated with donation applied to the donor or their family.

Don [and] I hope that you find this post helpful as you consider whether or not to become a registered eye, organ, [and] tissue donor in the event that the unthinkable happens to you.

We have said an emphatic YES! To registering as potential donors. We hope you will do the same.

myHeart’s utmost gratitude to DAP for his willingness to guest post on behalf of everyone who currently awaits transplantation which includes MHYH Co-Founder, Judy Bode. 


DAP [and] Stephanie

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