Monday, July 10, 2006
Medical Reports: Give to Live
Right now, 92 thousand people in the U.S. need a lifsaving transplant. But there may be a faster option for finding a matching organ. A relatively new group wants to save lives by offering a major incentive. In this 'member's only' club, you have to 'Give to Live'.
WSVN--We've all heard membrship has its privileges. Well now, membership can save your life.
By joining an organization called Lifesharers, you automatically increase your odds of getting an organ donation on one condition.
Dave Undis: "Members of Lifesharers agree to donate their organs when they die. They also agree to offer them first to other members of LifeSharers."
David Undis is the founder of Lifesharers.
His philosophy is simple - if you give to live, you should also be able to receive.
He thinks its unfair that most transplant recipients are not organ donors.
Dave Undis: "Giving an organ to someone who won't donate their own organs is like giving the Powerball jackpot to someone who didn't buy a ticket."
But with Lifesharers, membership is free and legal.
Right now, there are almost five thousand members in all 50 states.
One of them - Michael Haynes from South Beach - joined with his wife four years ago.
Michael Haynes: "Being a member of Lifeshares definitely give me a better feeling that if I ever did become sick or my wife became sick we would have a better shot of getting an organ."
The way it works is members fill out a form online and carry a Lifesharers card.
When they die, Lifesharers will be contacted and begin looking for a matching recipient within the group.
Only if there is no match, will they go outside the organization.
Michael Haynes: "It should be based on your williness to give back. I am willing to give my organ when I die, so I expect to be first on the list. It seems like a fair way for me."
But not everybody believes organs should only go to organ donors.
University of Miami bio-ethicist, Kenneth Goodman, maintains medical status should be a top factor.
Kenneth Goodman: "The idea of a platinum card club for organ sharing seems to me to be an erosion of the altruistic foundation of organ sharing."
Still, South Floridians Bob and Sherry Troy, have no regrets about joining.
They see Lifesharers as the membership of a lifetime. Because when they die, they'll be helping somebody just as generous live on.
Sherrye: "Makes me feel wonderful, makes me feel like that I'm here on earth to help people, to do something for somebody else."
Anybody can join Lifesharers, however there is a waiting period before you can receive organs.
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