An organ donor is somebody who has decided and given their permission to have their organs removed after their death if said organs are in a suitable condition, in order to be transplanted into somebody else who would be critically ill without them. So no – people aren't going to wrench out my entire left lung while I'm still living to give to somebody else. In fact in all likelihood, I won't donate any organs at all, as there are very few ways you can actually die and have organs that won't kill someone else.
I've known for the last few years that when I became sixteen that I would become an organ donor, however when my birthday rolled around last January I just kind of, well, forgot. I would remember every now and then but the thought of actually having to put in the effort to search on Google 'NHS Organ Donor' was just far too much. Luckily, for the potential (but lazy) donors like myself, there is the NHS had this wonderful idea: we could just tick a box. Here is a list of the partners that allow you to tick a box and become an organ donor, notably the DVLA (Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency), the Passport Agency and Boots, where I ticked my box. I was just signing up for my Boots Advantage Card (which is really worth it for anyone who hasn't in the UK) when I saw "Would you like to be added to the NHS Organ Donor Register?" I though "Yes. Yes indeed I would." So now not only do I have a boots Advantage card which meant I could get £1 worth of points when I bought my new lipstick, it also meant I got a lovely Organ Donor card a few weeks later in the post (both of which are in the picture)!
However donating your organs should not be a decision to make quickly - I have known for years it was something I wanted to do and was not a spur of the moment decision. Organ donation may have an impact on when you die, although this is only speculation. It is said that if you are an organ donor doctors are more likely to turn off your life support, but this is very very very unlikely (doctors should do whatever they can to keep you alive) and you may not even be on life support when you die. My decision to become an organ donor has probably been helped by my religious views as a humanist (for those who read my earlier post about being an atheist, they are not mutually exclusive beliefs), and therefore I don't believe in an afterlife and if there is one, we dig up people's bones so clearly (in my opinion) you don't need a body to get there. So why let my organs go to waste rotting in the ground when they could be saving somebodies life. Or maybe not even their life- I could be given somebody vision. Yes, I can donate my frickin eyes. Ew. Or so I thought. My entire eye shall not be ripped out of my head the second I kick the bucket, instead my cornea, or another layer, would be carefully removed and through the wonders of modern medicine given to somebody and restoring their sight. It's all rather wonderful.
For anyone who is interested click here. If you live outside the UK then just do a quick search online to find where you can donate- every country should have one. I would strongly encourage anyone to sign up due to the huge shortages of organs. We hear about waiting lists all the time- this is due to lack of suitable organs. Of course people die all the time, and many of them will be organ donors, but they didn't have suitable organs, for whatever reason. Quite frankly, the fact that our roads have become safer has led to a massive reduction in suitable organs. Now I'm suggesting we all go out and die in car crashes, but if I were to die in that horrendous way, then I want to save to somebodies life and make sure that my death is able to make somebodies life just a little bit better.
Next year- blood donation.