Protect your future during National Donate Life Month

You probably know you can save several lives by donating your organs when you die. Did you know you can also save your own life?

LifeSharers, a non-profit network of organ donors, offers organ donors a chance to move up the transplant waiting list if they ever need an organ. If you join LifeSharers, you’ll get preferred access to the organs of every other member. In return, you agree to offer your organs first to other members of the LifeSharers community. Membership is free and open to all at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88.

“LifeSharers membership is a compelling investment in your future. It’s free, and it could literally save your life,” said Bill Staton, Chairman of Staton Financial Advisors in Charlotte, N.C. “By joining LifeSharers, you reduce the chance you’ll die waiting if you ever need an organ transplant.” More than half of the people on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. There are more than 91,000 Americans on the waiting list today.

LifeSharers makes the organ transplant system more equitable, according to John Landsberg, president of Bottom Line Communications in Kansas City, Mo. “If you are willing to step up to the plate and be a donor, then you should have first access to organs if the need should ever arise in your life. To me, it’s a basic issue of fairness.”

Dr. John Wisniewski of Indian Lake, Pa., is a LifeSharers member. So is his wife Kimberly, a nurse practitioner. “We joined to give priority in utilizing our donated organs to others who are willing to give,” said Dr. Wisniewski. “LifeSharers is a wonderful way to encourage all people to donate, which is the ultimate goal.”

More than 90 percent of Americans support the idea of organ donation, but less than half have actually signed up to donate. Americans buried or cremated about 20,000 transplantable organs last year, while 6,000 Americans died waiting for organ transplants.

There is no age limit on organ donation, and everyone can offer to donate, no matter what their medical condition. Because there is such a large organ shortage, surgeons are now transplanting many organs they would have thrown away just a few years ago.

LifeSharers urges everyone to join their network. “Even people who are already registered organ donors should join LifeSharers,” said David J. Undis, the network’s executive director. “As our network grows, your chances of getting a transplant if you ever need one will go up—but only if you are a member. And April is National Donate Life Month—a perfect time to do it.”

LifeSharers members receive a free donor card, letters they can share with family members and doctors, and language they can attach to their durable power of attorney for health care.

More than 4,000 people have joined LifeSharers, including more than 400 children enrolled by their parents. LifeSharers has members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

From the April 12-18, 2006, issue

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