February 14, 2006
Giving the gift of life this Valentine’s Day, now that 18 people die each day on the national organ donor waiting list. Organ donation is certainly something to consider and there are some loopholes in the system News 12 hopes to clear up.
Organ donation is definitely a big decision. There are 1,700 people waiting for a call in Georgia alone. Ultimately it’s up to your family, once you die, to make the final call.
“My son Byron Williams, a fun loving guy, compassionate, son, brother and friend,” said Johnetta Williams.
Johnetta Williams knows all about her son’s infectious smile and his tendency to spread the joy. Like, one day, she linked up with a group called Life Link.
“I began my relationship with Life Link on September 11, 1998, and that’s the date of Byron’s death,” Williams said.
Life Link coordinates organ donations for patients in Georgia. Some of Byron’s bone tissue and his corneas were donated to others.
“So somewhere Byron is still looking at all of us and that smile is still there,” Williams said.
For Johnetta, the decision to donate makes sense but others wrestle with it.
“It is the family’s decision so your family would get to make that choice for you. So it’s important right then and there in a hospital room exactly what you would want,” said Gloria Dossett, Life Link.
But what about those organ donor stamps in the corner of some driver’s licenses?
“In the state of Georgia, the driver’s license is an indicator of one’s wishes but it’s not a legally binding document, so again it’s very important that your next of kin knows what you would have wanted,” Dossett said.
“Knowing that a part of them goes on that somewhere a grandparents can hold their child to their breast and hear that heartbeat or look out at the spring flowers and it’s all because the family said yes,” Williams said.
So what if you want to be an organ donor? The most important thing is to tell your family, your wife, your parents, your next of kin. It’s not something we necessarily want to talk about, but it is important to avoid any confusion. There’s no need to put it in a will, because that would take days to get to. The family must be able to give a relatively quick answer, yes or no.