National Organ Donation Month comes close to home
By: Shaya Rogers, Features Reporter | Photo By: Jamison Wagner
April is National Organ Donation Month, a time to think about the people across the nation, and on campus, who are in desperate need of a donor.
Elementary Education major Kimberly Wagner is in the final stage of Polycystic Kidney Disease and has been on the list for a new kidney since April 2010, she said.
The disease has no known cure and causes multiple cysts to form on the kidneys, which can kill a patient who does not receive a transplant. It is passed down from parent to child, she said.
“The cysts basically take over the kidney. My mom had it; it’s an inherited disease so my children have a 50 percent chance of having it,” she said.
Wagner, who is related to CNM Chronicle staff reporter Jamison Wagner, was diagnosed with PKD when she was 32, she said.
“Mine are twice the size of a normal person’s kidneys, just because of the cysts,” she said. Her family has been supportive through the years and have even offered their kidneys for donation, she said.
“My daughter and my husband have both tried to be live donors, because you only need one kidney, but they can’t because of health issues of their own,” she said.
National Organ Donation Month is a great opportunity for the CNM community to become educated on the need for donors, she said.
There are many parts of the body that can be donated, through both live and posthumous donations, she said.
“I’m a donor. They can’t take my kidneys, obviously, but if I died tomorrow they could take my corneas, my heart, my lungs, my skin, so all of these things can help someone,” Wagner said.
This month honors donators and creates a national platform to help others understand the specifics and to clarify any misconceptions about donating, she said.
“Sometimes there’s this little urban myth that if you’re a donor, paramedics won’t do everything and it’s not true. That would be silly,” she said.
According to organdonor.gov, 117,972 people are waiting for an organ. Eighteen people per day will die waiting for an organ. One donor can save up to eight lives.
Although it does require a visit to the hospital and some time off work, the members of the donation community try to make it as easy as possible, she said.
“If there’s a live donor, it doesn’t cost them anything, it’s all covered by the patient who needs the transplant,” she said.
Many people who are able to donate do not because they may not know anyone close to them who needs a donation, she said.
“I know a lot of times, we are so busy with our own lives we don’t think about it, but it gives you the opportunity to find out how this affects somebody,” she said.
The easiest way to help those in need today is to become an organ donor, she said.
“Check that box when you get your driver’s license, or if you already have a driver’s license, you just go online and fill out their little form and print it off and keep it with your license,” she said.
For more information about organ donation, visit nmdonor.org.