LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -More than 165 million people nationwide are registered organ donors, but more help is needed.
April is National Donate Life Month, which focuses on the continued need for organ donations.
Over 100,000 people are waiting for organ transplants, and Organ Donation Liaison Anja Drogseth with Mayo Clinic Health System says it just takes one donor to help.
“One organ donor can save eight lives and if you go on to be a tissue or a cornea donor you can restore sight to multiple people, you can help burn victims and even just ACL repairs and sports injuries,” Drogseth detailed.
Organ transplants have continued amid the pandemic even though COVID-19 has created some changes in the donation process.
“For any potential donor they do a COVID test and if you came back positive it’s a rule-out for organ donation,” said Renee Herbst, Organ & Tissue Donation Liaison with Gundersen Health System. “We don’t have enough information about COVID-19 to actually say what the safety issues are.”
Herbst says Gundersen has seen a large increase in donor registrations over the last year, with donors saying they want to make a difference.
“It takes that opportunity, that tragic opportunity where someone has lost their loved one and turns it into a positive thing because they’re able to impact other people’s lives and save other people’s loved ones,” Herbst described.
Making an independent decision to register as an organ donor can also relieve stress from family members.
“If you don’t sign up your family ultimately will be asked those questions and to take that burden off them I think is amazing, taking control of your life,” Drogseth said.
While April overall is National Donate Life Month, April 16th specifically is National Donate Life Blue & Green Day.
The public is encouraged to wear blue and green throughout the day to share the Donate Life message.
In addition to Blue & Green Day, Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse will be lighting up its Cancer and Surgery Center along West Avenue in blue and green colors to support the initiative.
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