More than 123,000 people across the country are in need of an organ transplant, and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. Every ten minutes someone is added to the organ donor waiting list. Every two seconds someone is in need of blood. In the time it will take to read this, another person will be added to the waiting list and another 300 will be in need of blood.
Tragically, 18 people die each day waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. And while more than a third of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10 percent actually do so.
April is National Donate Life Month and I would like to encourage you to participate -- 120 million Americans are registered organ donors, and you can help save lives by registering to join them.
To help increase the number of registered donors throughout Virginia, a coalition of more than 16 organizations from around the Commonwealth—including Fairfax County’s very own Inova Transplant Center and Washington Regional Transplant Community—formed Donate Life Virginia. At its website, DonateLifeVirginia.org, you can sign up for Virginia’s organ donor registry, find more information about organ donations, and also read stories of those who have donated organs as well as those whose lives have benefitted from organ transplants. Remember that you can also register through the DMV when applying for or renewing your driver’s license.
You can also donate blood to those in need through a simple, safe process. Typically, the entire process takes 15 minutes, and includes registration, a briefing on your medical history, a mini-physical, the donation itself, and refreshments. In matter of 15 minutes, you could be saving the lives of three people. Several blood drives are held throughout the community every month, and I encourage you to use this month to consider making a donation. To find a blood drive near you, please visit RedCrossBlood.org.
Donate Life Month will be the focus of the Braddock Neighborhood News this month, which airs on Channel 16 on Sundays at 5:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., and Fridays at 5:00 p.m.
During National Donate Life Month this April, we remember those who have received or continue to wait for lifesaving donations. This is also a time to celebrate the strength that organ recipients inspire in us. And we should also take this time to honor and commemorate those donors who have saved so many lives. I am hoping to encourage you to attend one of the several blood drives in our community and to consider registering as an organ donor. It is this kind of selflessness and generosity that makes Fairfax County such a great community, and this is yet another way for us to continue in that tradition.