Signing up as organ donor could mean fewer lives lost

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -It's the little things that Diboll resident Larry Lewis misses the most. Three years ago his doctor told him his kidneys were failing, and that he would need a new one. He's been on dialysis, anxiously waiting to find a donor compatible with his rare blood type.

"To have a donor would be really great because then I would be able to do the things I can't do now," said Lewis.

Like work again.

"I'm 50-years-old," he said. "I'm still able to work but I can't because of my kidneys because nobody will hire me."

There are more than 100,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant. Of those, 9,000 wait for their names to be called. Experts say the list is only growing.

"Well, as it stands right now, we have thousands of people that die every year waiting on notification that they are going to get an organ," said nurse manager of ICU at Lufkin Memorial Richard Fennell.

Fennell believes a lot of names could be removed from the list if more people were aware of the need for organ donors.

"I believe it's just a lack of education and a lack of realized importance of the need for donation," said Fennell who says it's really easy to become a donor. Log onto and fill out the requirements.

"Get informed, make a decision and then make your decision known to your loved ones," said Fennell.

If one person does qualify to become a donor, they are able to donate up to eight organs, which means a greater possibility of saving a life.

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