Saturday, July 30, 2005

Real "pro-lifers" are organ & tissue donors

During all the debate over Terri Schiavo, I (and many other people) reminded folks about the importance not only of advanced directives (aka "living wills") but also about discussing organ and tissue donation with your family so that if you die but have organs/tissues that can be used to help another family avoid the pain of loss yours, your family will be aware of and comfortable with a decision to donate. I also challenged those who make a claim to being "pro-life" to put their proverbial money where there mouth is.

Earlier today, Lindsey posted about Jazz musician Michael Brecker's battle with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Michael will need a bone marrow transplant (BMT) to survive this disease and it appears as though nobody in his family is a match. Michael is of Ashkenazic Jewish (German/Eastern European Jews) decent and his best chance at a match is another person of similar decent. There are a lot of people from mixed marriages or who may be completely unaware that their German/Eastern European families were Jews who converted many generations back, so if you do have ancestry from that region, you may well be a close enough match for Brecker.

Brecker is not the only person having difficulties finding a suitable match, so the more eligible people registered with
national bone marrow donor program the better (especially if we can increase the ranks of minority registrants). Those not eligible to donate marrow or who aren't a match can also help other folks out by being a blood and/or pheresis donor.

Other useful links:

The Mitzvah of Organ Donation

Does my Religion Approve of Organ Donation? - information about views of many major religions.

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