Throughout the month of April, The Living Legacy Foundation will be addressing some of the myths and misconceptions heard when education our community about organ, eye and tissue donation. We hope you find these posts helpful and share them with others.
Myth: Organ donation is against my religion.
When faced with the decision of organ and tissue donation during the trauma of a family member’s death, a person’s religious group’s position on the subject suddenly becomes very important. As the decision is being made, many questions often arise, “What does my religious tradition believe about organ and tissue donation?” “How will I get to heaven?” “How will I see God?”
Research shows a vast majority of religious groups support organ and tissue donation and transplantation so long as it does not impede the life or hasten the death of the donor. Research into the positions of various religious groups reveals the underlying attitude that unless the group has taken action to prohibit organ or tissue donation and transplantation, it is usually assumed that such donation is permissible. It is encouraged as a charitable act that saves and/or enhances life; therefore, it requires no action on the part of the religious group.
The Living Legacy Foundation encourages those with questions about the specific beliefs or position on organ and tissue donation to speak with his or her parish clergy leader. For a summary of statements concerning the various religious groups’ positions on organ and tissue donation and transplantation, log on to www.thellf.org/donation-process/views.html.
In 2012, more than 28,000 people received a life-saving organ transplant. In addition to the transplant recipient, many more families, schools, communities and workplaces were touched by transplantation. However, for every person who receives an organ transplant, two more people are added to list. Currently, there are more than 117,000 people on the national organ transplant waiting list, of which more than 2,200 live in Maryland. Every day, an average of 18 people on the waiting list die due to the lack of available organs needed to save them.
There is hope. Thanks to organ, eye and tissue donors, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives get a second chance at life. It could be a chance to celebrate another birthday, share another story, an opportunity to learn something new or contribute to their community. Because of organ, eye and tissue donors and their families who were able to see past their own loss, they were able to provide someone else as second chance at life. That generous gift gives lives not only to the transplant recipient, but also to a family, a school, a house of worship, a community – the world! There is a Jewish proverb that states, “Save one life and it is as if you save the entire world.”