Laura Ann the Intern: A family discussion

Naturally, gathering with family over the Thanksgiving holiday last week lead to many discussions about school, friends and my internship experience. My family had many questions about my experiences at The LLF and wanted to know more about my tasks. Overall, they had many questions about organ, eye and tissue donation.

I was speaking with one of my uncles about donation and he says to me, “there must be a lot of money in that.” I quickly realized he was referring to the “black market.” I actually laughed when he said this because it is a commonly heard myth. I began to explain to him that that is not how receiving an organ, eye or tissue transplant happens. He was convinced that having money or being a celebrity put someone at the top of the transplant waiting list. Needless to say after I explained to him how the transplant list works, and that the sickest person who needs a transplant goes at the top of the list and from there other factors are considered before a transplant can happen; height, weight, blood type, etc. he was much more at ease and open to the subject. After our conversion he was much more informed and found what we do here at The LLF very interesting.

My grandmother also shared with me her opinion on donation; both she and my Grandpa believe everyone should be an organ donor. Although, she did mention that she didn’t think her organs would be of much use. She laughed when she said this, and I told her you never know. You’re never too old to be a donor, and you can help save the lives of many people at any age.

At lunch one afternoon, I was discussing donation with my aunt and young cousin. My aunt, like most members of my family, is an organ donor. She feels similarly as my grandmother does, that everyone should become a registered donor. I took this opportunity to educate my younger cousin about what donation is and the process for transplantation. She had many questions I was able to answer because of everything I’ve learned while at interning with The LLF.

I am proud to say my mom, dad, brother, sister and myself are all registered organ donors in the state of New York. I believe after speaking with my extended family members, those few who are not registered donors will now make sure to sign the back of their drivers’ licenses, which is how we indicate our donation wishes in the state of New York.

I was pleased to hear no one in my family was against donation, and as important as it is to discuss this subject with loved ones, we all now have an understanding of what each of us would want should the opportunity arise.

One thing I’ve learned while working at The LLF is how important it is to talk to your family about your donation wishes, and now that I’ve had the conversation with my family members, I now challenge you all to do the same! I hope you all have as good of a conversation with your families as I had with mine.

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