Catherine Pritchard Childress
Donate Life My mother was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease twenty- three years ago during a routine ultrasound while she was pregnant with me. Polycystic Kidney Disease, also known as PKD, is a genetic disorder that consists of numerous cysts in the kidneys that eventually causes the kidneys to fail. A person without PKD has kidneys that are about the size of a fist. My mother’s kidneys are the size of footballs. My mother suffered from PKD for twenty long years. Four years ago, my mother’s condition worsened greatly. The doctors only gave her two options; dialysis or a kidney transplant. She chose to have a kidney transplant, but before she could have one, she had to be put on the waiting list. My mother waited an entire year before she received a kidney. My mother would not be living today if it were not for a twenty- one year old woman who lost her life in a car accident the same night of my mother’s transplant. Although the cost was losing her own life, that twenty- one year old woman saved my mother’s life because she was an organ donor. If that woman had not been an organ donor, I would have buried my mother in the same year that I gave birth to my daughter. My daughter would have never known her grandmother. I am an organ donor because I saw first-hand how my mother suffered physically and emotionally during the painful moments of worrying if she would ever receive a kidney. I was there during her depression that was induced from worrying if she would ever get to see her first grandchild.
A friend, loved one, or family member may be needing and waiting on an organ right this very moment. Something may happen, to the person reading this in the future that may lead to the need of an organ transplant. Organ donation is important because it saves people’s lives every day. There are many people that never receive the organ that they need to survive.
Some people think that you cannot have an open casket for their funeral if they are organ donors. This could not be further from the truth. Thinking ahead to your own death and the moments following is a very difficult thing to do. I understand that not being able to have an open casket funeral can be a worrisome matter or can be a deal breaker when it comes to this subject. Many people feel that having an open casket for a funeral provides more closure for the mourning families that are effected. Being an organ donor does not affect what type of funeral that a person can have. Organ donors can have any type of funeral that they, or their family, wants. No one will even be able to physically notice that a person was an organ donor. Only the family of that person will possess that knowledge.
People also think that, if they become organ donors, doctors will not make their best efforts to keep them alive. Doctors