Massachusetts enjoys the best medical facilities, the best doctors and nurses, and the best medical educators in the world. In spite of those tremendous resources, however, there is still urgent need in the area of life-saving organ transplants.
More than 120,000 Americans – including more than 3,000 Massachusetts residents – are currently waiting for available organs for life-saving transplant procedures. Tragically, about seventeen people per day on average, or more than 6,000 people per year, die in this country waiting for an organ transplant, due to a shortage of donated organs and tissues.
Nationally, a goal has been established to register 50% of our driving population as organ donors, which is why steps have been taken to facilitate the process of signing up, especially through the Registry of Motor Vehicles. One can even sign up online, either via the RMV at https://secure.rmv.state.ma.us/OrganDonor/intro.aspx or via Donate Life New England at http://donatelifenewengland.org/register/. One can also learn more about the topic via http://organdonor.gov/ or via the New England Organ Bank website at http://www.neob.org/.
Massachusetts has a long and proud history in this area of medicine. The world’s very first successful organ transplant occurred in 1954 at Brigham Hospital between twin brothers Ronald and Richard Herrick. Since that medical breakthrough, which seemed nothing short of miraculous at the time, advances have continued to be made to the point that, at present, over one million life-enhancing transplants occur every year, not only with organs but also corneas, bone, skin, and other tissues. In fact, due to the combination of medical advancements and urgent need, a single organ donor is able to save as many as eight lives and benefit as many as fifty recipients in need.
I was proud to stand with Governor Charlie Baker, Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, legislative colleagues, and truly inspirational advocates at a State House event earlier this month declaring April to be “Donate Life” Month in Massachusetts, to bring greater attention to this urgent need.
Similarly, I was also proud to serve as a co-sponsor of the recent Stoneham Strong Blood Drive. Just as there is an urgent need for organ and tissue donation, so is there a perpetual need for blood donations. To make an appointment to donate blood through the Red Cross, please visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/ or call 1-800 RED CROSS (733-2767).
I hope this inspires you to take action. As the Red Cross always notes, “The need is constant.”