World Organ Donation Day is observed on August 13 every year to spread awareness about the importance of organ donation and address and debunk myths related to donating organs. This day strives to encourage people to donate their healthy organs after death in order to save more lives. Donating organs like the kidneys, heart, pancreas, eyes, lungs, etc can help save the lives of those who are suffering from chronic illnesses. Numerous people lose their lives due to the unavailability of healthy organs that could save them. This day aims to help people realise that volunteering to donate their organs after death can be life-changing for many.
First organ donation and a Nobel Prize
Modern medicine has evolved significantly and has made it possible for organs to be transplanted from one person to another and enables them to live a healthy life. The first-ever successful living donor organ transplant was done in 1954 in the United States. Doctor Joseph Murray won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1990 for successfully carrying out a kidney transplant between twin brothers Ronald and Richard Herrick.
Who can volunteer to be an organ donor?
Donating one’s organs is giving someone a new life, anyone can volunteer to be an organ donor irrespective of their age, caste, and religion. It is, however, important to ensure that those volunteering to donate their organs do not suffer from chronic diseases like HIV, cancer, or any heart and lung disease. A healthy donor is of paramount importance. One can sign up to be a donor once they reach 18 years of age.
Forms of organ donation
There are two forms of organ donation, live donations are done with donors who are alive and can donate organs like a kidney and a part of the liver. Human beings can survive with one kidney and the liver is the only organ in the body that is known to regenerate itself, making it possible for these organs to be transplanted while the donor is still alive. The second form of organ donation is known as cadaver donation. In this procedure, after the donor has died, his/her healthy organs are transplanted to a living person.
India has its own organ donation day that is observed on November 27 each year. On this day, the government encourages Indian citizens to volunteer to donate their organs and save lives.