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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    You can’t take them with you

    In the U.S., 18 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant die each day.

    To draw attention to the list of transplant hopefuls, Gov. Janet Napolitano proclaimed April Arizona Donate Life Month, according to Donor Network of Arizona officials.

    “”I think more than anything, it is important to make you more aware of donation,”” said Vuna Fa, an immunobiology graduate student.

    To register as an
    organ donor, visit

    Fa’s son received a heart transplant when he was 13 days old because he was born with only two of the four chambers in a human heart, Fa said. While they were on the waiting list, one of the babies ahead of Fa’s son died.

    “”(Organ donation) definitely means a lot to us,”” Fa said. “”You can decide to get a heart transplant, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get a heart transplant.””

    After his son was saved about 10 years ago, Fa decided to go back to school and switch from business to science to learn more about transplants, Fa said.

    In addition to being aware of what it means to donate, people need to let their families know they want to donate, Fa said.

    “”A lot of people in Arizona think that the D.M.V. registered them, but really, they are just receiving more information about being a donor,”” said Kris Bolster, public relations coordinator for the Donor Network of Arizona.

    The only way to become an official organ donor is to register online or send in the information the D.M.V. gave you, Bolster said.

    Arizona needs to be educated on organ-donating to overcome this misconception along with others, such as the urban legend that some organs end up on the black market, said John Biebelhausen, co-founder of the Students for Organ Donation and a psychology senior.

    “”(Club founders) just thought that since organ donation is such a problem in this country, we should work for more awareness and educate the population,”” Biebelhausen said.

    The club ran registration drives for organ donations on the UA Mall and in residence halls last semester, Biebelhausen said.

    “”It helps if you have someone that’s educated on the subject to sign people up,”” Biebelhausen said. “”People aren’t as proactive by themselves.””

    Those who don’t feel comfortable with the chance that someone else might use their heart one day can choose which organs will be used when they register, Bolster said.

    “”I feel it’s extremely important to be an organ donor because of all the people that die,”” said Brenda Gatterer, staff advisor for the Students for Organ Donation and an administrative assistant with the University College.

    In 2006, organ donations saved 342 people in Arizona, Bolster said. But the waiting list is more than 13,000 names long.

    “”The number grows; it never goes down,”” Bolster said.

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