Save a life:Become a donor

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 11, 2001

Sickness knows no ages, no colors, no religious preference. It doesn't know how much money one person has in his/her checking account and it doesn't know how little. Sickness preys on all ages, races and personalities.

Everyday about 60 people receive an organ transplant, but another 15 people on a waiting list die because not enough organs are available. These include children, youth, young adults,and even seniors.

The health of America depends on organ donation and many lives are saved because of people who are willing to risk their own to help others.

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There are no age limits to organ donation and the determining factor of a

person being a donor is physical condition. From newborns to senior citizens, organ donors come in all shapes and all sizes, as do the organs that can be donated. Today organs such as the heart, kidneys, the pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines can be donated. Tissues such as the cornea, skin, bone marrow, heart valves and connective tissue also can be donated.

Some diseases, however, are more common in racial minority groups than in the general population. For example, Native Americans are four times more likely than Whites to suffer from diabetes, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders and Hispanics are three times more likely to suffer from end-stage renal disease than Whites.

Although successful transplantation often is enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group, it is possible to cross over ethnic barriers. In fact, one Mobile woman, Debbie Cole, crossed that barrier this week and donated a kidney to an African-American man with polycystic kidneys.

This week add signing up to be an organ donor. and take life into your own hands.