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Organ Donation, the Ultimate Gift of Compassion

One of the most common misconceptions about registering as an organ donor is that one’s religion does not support it. In fact, all major religions, including Catholicism, support organ donation. Pope Francis described the act of organ donation as ‘a testimony of love for our neighbor’ when the Vatican hosted the European Organ Donation Day in October, 2014.

Image of Click the photo to register as an organ and tissue donor in honor of Pope Francis.Click the photo to register as an organ and tissue donor in honor of Pope Francis.

One of the most common misconceptions about registering as an organ donor is that one’s religion does not support it. In fact, all major religions, including Catholicism, support organ donation. Pope Francis described the act of organ donation as ‘a testimony of love for our neighbor’ when the Vatican hosted the European Organ Donation Day in October, 2014.

Gift of Life Donor Program has worked tirelessly for the past 41 years to coordinate donors’ generosity with those in need. Since 1974, Gift of Life – the organ procurement organization for eastern PA, southern NJ and DE – has helped save 39,000 lives through organ donation, and enhanced over half a million lives through tissue donation.

Pope John Paul II said, “The Catholic Church is clear that, in itself organ donation is a good and meritorious thing. It’s a powerful expression of human solidarity. Such actions can help build a culture of life, a culture in which life is cherished.”

Not only does the Church accept organ transplantation, it also recognizes donation as a great act of charity and love. Pope John Paul II also stated, “The Catholic Church promotes the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a challenge to their generosity and fraternal love. One of the most powerful ways for individuals to demonstrate love for their neighbor is by making the informed decision to be an organ donor.”

This miraculous task of providing life-saving organ transplants to the men, women and children on the transplant waitlist wouldn’t be possible without the selfless decision of donors and donor families who say “yes” to donation. The choice to donate – often made at a grief-stricken and terrible moment in life – is one that is far-reaching and greatly beneficial. One organ donor can save and enhance the lives of up to 50 others - a gift that is impactful to the recipients, their family members and the community on a whole.

A great example of the life-saving power of donation is Susan Comegy’s journey through transplantation. Susan is a kidney and pancreas recipient, and had been a type 1 diabetic since she was a teenager. After years of illness, Susan received the gift of a second chance at life. “I feel a depth of gratitude for my donor that words cannot express. I believe that God has blessed me and I am forever thankful.” she said. “Because of my donor, my life is so different now. My husband and I are able to take trips and I have energy to play with my two dogs that I rescued. I am blessed and every day feels like my donor is watching over me. He’s my guardian angel. Receiving my transplant has strengthened my faith, and I feel like I have witnessed a miracle. I try to give back now and live every day to its fullest, mindful of all that I’ve been given.”

Giving of oneself and making the choice to help others is truly a gesture of love. Unfortunately today, there are still many untrue myths that prevent individuals from registering. Sadly, there are nearly 6,000 people in our region – and more than 122,000 nationally – whose lives depend on the kindness of strangers to make a choice that will give them a second chance at life. No final act is more heartfelt or caring than donating ones’ organs. It shows an individual’s compassion for others, and can change lives forever.

You too can save lives. In honor of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States this September, register as an organ and tissue donor today at donors1.org. It only takes 30 seconds.

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Giving Life a Second Chance

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Since 1974, Gift of Life Donor Program has helped hundreds of thousands of patients through organ and tissue donation.

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National Donor Sabbath

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National Donor Sabbath, observed annually in November, seeks to educate faith-based communities about the need for organ, eye and tissue donors. Order free materials to celebrate National Donor Sabbath, taking place Nov. 11-13!

 
 
 
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