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Give the Gift of Life

Want to help save someone’s life without any pain on your part, cost, or even an ounce of effort? Just by signing your name and ticking a box may allow another human being a new lease on life thanks to your decision. Too good to be true? Not so. Interested to learn more? then read on…

Every year, thousands of people die from the lack of suitable organ replacements. The under-supply has even led to more unsavory, underground practices in the black-market trade for organs. A few years ago, there was an expose on a ring of human organ harvesters operating in third world countries preying on those desperate enough to sell a kidney while still alive. But such is the unfortunate result of sheer desperation. When it comes to survival, people may be driven to desperate deeds.

My father couldn’t have kidney transplant and had to endure the painful hemo-dialysis treatments until the day he died. Every other day, he had to endure having a thick needles being inserted into his fore-arm. These needles are many times thicker than a regular hypodermic needle for the volume of blood needed to circulate in and out a dialysis machine. This is the almost daily torture being endured by many patients suffering from kidney failure throughout the country. Many other families share the same problems or worse. Though some organs may be obtained through a living donor, most others like a heart may only be obtained from a deceased donor.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Common sense tells us that there are more people dying every day with a few good organs intact than there are patients who actually need organ transplants. Its a simple numbers game. After those people die, those viable organs are no longer of any use to the owner but they are just left to decompose instead of being donated to a needy patient in need of a lifeline. Such is the cruel irony of wasted potential. Who would appreciate your gift more? a needy patient… or worms? Unless you’re into the practice of ancient Egyptian burial rites and prefer to have your internal organs all nicely pickled in their own little canopic jars awaiting physical rebirth, then there is nothing stopping you from making the right choice.

When you die, you no longer need your body parts so if there is a worthwhile cause that may benefit from it, why hesitate? And who better to understand this fact than people who have no superstitious baggage about needing their bodies intact for some magical resurrection in the future. And you have no worries about your “immortal soul” feeling some sort of pain feedback when your physical body is “desecrated” (in any case, your body will be quite literally violated anyway during the embalming process. Having watched the entire procedure done to the body of a loved one, I can tell you in all honesty that no matter how respectful the morticians do it, it is still not a “gentle” process having to work through the rather cumbersome rigor mortis.). And that is why I whole-heartedly implore atheists, skeptics, freethinkers and everyone else everywhere to participate in the local organ donation program. So stop watching horror movies like “The Eye” or worse…. “Repo! the Genetic Opera” that’ll give you the heebie-jeebies about organ transplants and start signing up!

Now here’s the tricky part – you can’t tell people that it’s OK to donate your body to a worthwhile cause after you’re dead. Ghostly apparitions and “messages from beyond” aside, you have to let people know ahead of time that its OK with you… while you’re still alive. I know its an awkward conversation to discuss with your family but think of the life you’re possibly saving. That’s why Operation HOPE (Human Organ Preservation Effort), an advocacy campaign launch by the National Kidney Institute is helping raise awareness to the general public. Hopefully, this will encourage people to talk about it and lessen the social taboos regarding conversation about death.

Without your family knowing that you support the program, chances are, when the times comes, your family would be in too much grief or would be hesitant to give away parts of their loved one’s body without specific permission from you, the original owner. You make a last-will-and-testament to tell people what you want them to do with the possessions you’ve left behind, but what about your most intimate possession… your own body? This is where the Organ Donation Card comes in…

We already have the RA 7170, the Organ Donation Act of 199l that formalizes one’s intent to donate one’s organs via an organ donor card. So how does this work?

  1. You talk to your immediate family (or the people who can act as your legal guardian during emergencies) about it and even encourage them to participate as well. You will need witnesses to confirm your intent to join the program. These are the people who will inform the doctors that you are an organ donor when the time comes.
  2. If you have a driver’s license, don’t forget to check the organ donation tick-box at the back. If not, you can get an organ donation card, sign your name and two other witnesses, preferably immediate family members. Indicate which parts you wish to donate or you can opt to donate everything. (Unfortunately, there is no check-box for opting to donate your schlong. So no matter how proud you are of yours and are hoping to give some poor schmuck some measure of joy by being the proud owner of a penile implant, tough luck there is no demand for dong donations…yet :))
  3. In the absence of a national organ donation registry (which hopefully they will establish in the future), carry this card in your wallet or in any place easily accessible.

It’s that simple. Just prepare the card and don’t give it any more thought. After you pass away, your death may yet give the gift of life to someone else. In a way, it’s a win-win situation. Just like an expectant mother who takes better care of her body because two lives are depending on it, think of it as an additional incentive to live healthier because your body may outlast even you 🙂


For more information, visit these links:

Want to find out who else are proud supporters of Operation HOPE? Chances are, your favorite celebrities are already one of them:  Why are all these stars asking you to carry this card?

FAQ’s on Operation Hope:

The National Kidney Institute’s Operation Hope website

Want to help save a life while you’re still alive? Consider donating blood too.

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Where does the house go?

It’s been almost a week since millions of Filipinos celebrated the day of the dead, a good enough time as any to think about what you want done with your body when you’ve expired. I, for one, am reading up on organ donation in the Philippines. Besides being worm food, this seems to be the nearest thing to life after death.



Registering for organ donation is actually easier than I thought; there’s only one thing you really need to do:

Tell your family.

If you’re married tell your wife, if you’re single tell your parents. Whether or not you’ve signed a donor card, your family will still have the last say on what happens to your body when you expire.

But a donor card does sound cool, so I’ve contacted the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and asked about whether we can make donor cards of our own. I haven’t gotten a reply yet, but an FF Organ Donor card doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Posted in SocietyComments (4)