- United States Government
- United States of America
Today, I am writing you to let you know about a wish I have developed from a 15 year old girl who has received a second chance at life. My sister, Anna Parish had a liver transplant in 2012 after waiting on the organ donor list for 3 years. She used to have a hard time getting through each day. Her life was constantly on hold. She was not able to participate in activities with her friends & unable to keep up in school because of stamina, doctor visits & hospitalization. All the while she volunteered & worked tirelessly when feeling well, to raise awareness for organ donation.
In 2012 she received a call that there was an organ match for her. It was a miracle. After fighting hard through one case of organ rejection, steroid induced diabetes and a virus called CMV (which is life threatening to transplant patients), Anna is back in school and feeling much better. She has fought hard to get her where she is today; but, with the help of her doctors and her luck of receiving an organ, she now has a chance at a normal life. Before transplant, Anna was in and out of the hospital constantly spending countless hours away from family and friends. She missed out on a lot of her childhood for 12 years.
From personal experience through this journey, I have learned the hardships as well as miracles that come with organ transplants and I don’t want anyone to have to wait as long as Anna did. For years all we could do was hope for a call, and some days, it seemed like the call would never come. At the time, there seemed like there was nothing to do but now, I want to make a difference. Today, we are not lacking healthcare or doctors however we are lacking donors.
America is one of the many countries with an "opt-in” or “explicit consent”rule when it comes to organ donation. Because of this rule, many people who would be willing to donate their organs die before they take the time to register as a donor. In European countries, the “opt-out” rule or “presumed consent” is proven much more effective. Those who are unwilling to donate their organs are much more likely to take the time and un-register themselves as an organ donor, rather than the citizen who would be willing to donate their organs but does not have the knowledge or take the time to register themselves. According to the New York times, when comparing Austria and Germany, two countries of very similar economies, Germany, with an opt-in system, only has 12% of their population registered as donors while Austria, with an opt-out system, has 99% population as organ donors. Today in America, more than 120,000 Americans are waiting for a transplant and 22 Americans die each day waiting. This clearly proves the flaws in America’s system. European countries that have adopted the opt-out system saw an improvement where 99% of their population became donors vs. 30% when they had the opt-in. With America being very similar to these European countries and having 40% registered as organ donors-this change is possible for us too. In a 2012 poll by Gallup for the U.S. Health and Human Services, about 95% of Americans approved of organ donation.
This is why Anna and I decided to make a video on YouTube sharing our story, promoting Organ Donation, and with the end goal of changing America’s Organ Donation system. After spending countless amounts of time trying to raise awareness for Organ Donation, Anna and I wanted to be more effective and make a national change. Anna and I really believe we have the power to get to Washington and change the nation, but we need all the help we can get!
Switching to an opt-out system does not take away anyone’s consent or choice of becoming an organ donor, rather it forces citizens to think about their lives and decide. The most common reasons for people not becoming donors is they don’t take the time, they lack knowledge in the subject, or they believe it to be unethical or against their religion. When asked in the DMV, often kids are too young and even many adults are undereducated in the subject and unable to understand the real importance of being an organ donor; so the easier answer is no. If 9 in 10 Americans agree with Organ Donation, a opt-out policy is obviously the most efficient and logical way of operating organ donations. No one plans on dying, and if an American wished to be an organ donor but never got around to signing up, an opt-out system ensures they get their wish when they are no longer there to make the decision for themselves.
I would like to propose changing America’s current system from an opt-in to an opt-out to force the population to learn about organ donation and give this cause the time it deserves. This does not force anything upon anyone-just gives the majority of the population their wish of saving lives after their’s is over and leaving an impact on the world when they’re gone.