I stare down at the DMV papers in front of me, and the little box that's responsible for giving second chances at life glares back. I want to check that little box with all my heart, but I know I can't.
My mom, dad, and I decided I should get a non drivers license ID card to have as a second form of identification besides my medical bracelet. I've been dreading this day for a while. Not because I'm afraid my picture won't turn out well or because I don't feel like going to the DMV. I've been dreading this day because today is the day that I have to say no to organ donation.
I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic, connective tissue disorder that affects how the collagen, which is the glue in my body, is made. This means all of my skin, organs, and various other parts are made of crappy collagen. Ehlers Danlos is responsible for the failing organs in my body, and would do the same is transplanted into someone else's. This is the reason I can't be an an organ donor.
Everyday, on average eighteen people die in the US alone waiting for an organ transplant. That's eighteen daughters and sons, mom's and dad's, coworkers and teachers. I don't find that acceptable. Eighty-four percent of Americans support organ donation, yet only thirty-four percent of Americans are registered organ donors. Checking of that little box on your DMV papers can save eight lives. That's eight second chances at life, eight beating hearts because you checked off that little box.
I've watched friends wait for years on the waiting list, waking up each day in hopes of getting the call that will give them a chance at life. I've watched them get the call and make it through surgery if they're lucky. I've watched them take their first steps out of the hospital after receiving the gift of life.
You don't need your organs after you die, but other people do. If you say no to organ donation, your organs that could save lives will turn to dust underground. So as I sit here writing this in the DMV, wishing that I could choose organ donation, I urge you, give a second chance and give the gift of life. Choose life. Choose organ donation.
Written in honor of Alex
Heart and lung transplant recipient and musician