LifeSharers Proposes 'Members Only' Approach To Organ Donation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/13/06-Mineola

LifeSharers Proposes 'Members Only' Approach To Organ Donation

Bobby and Sonja Rosson joined LifeSharers after hearing about it on the Oprah Winfrey Show one day.

"The first person that came to mind was a friend, our pastor, who had kidney cancer earlier this year," says Sonja.

LifeSharers is a voluntary, non-profit network of organ donors like Bobby and Sonja. Members request their organs be offered to other members who are also committed donors before they are offered to those waiting on the national list.

LifeSharers founder Dave Undis says, "It doesn't make any sense to give organs to people who refuse to donate their own organs. It's like giving the powerball jackpot to somebody who didn't buy a ticket."

Bobby and Sonja agree.

"It's a better system. It's a system that's free from a lot of politics," says Bobby.

Critics of LifeSharers say although the concept is well-intended, it prevents equal access to much needed organs.

Troy Brown with the Southwest Transplant Alliance says, "If you have a list such as Life Sharers, to access that is too difficult. It takes a long time to find a recipient on the national list, let alone having this extra list that they want us to access."

Since it's founding in 2002, LifeSharers has grown to more than 5000 members. Thirty-three of their members are waiting for a transplant on the national list. To date, none of the members have died, so the concept has not been fully tested.

Bobby and Sonja say in spite of any criticism, they think the program has a lot of merit. They say knowing each others wishes will make the decision to donate easier if anything should happen to either of them.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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