So today I got to do something super neat–talk to students at my former high school about organ donation! I was jazzed to be back in my old health classroom and at my old school. Some things are the same (the incredible amount of purple, the electronic bells), some things are better (there is an ample selection of Jane in the library, or “Media Center”), and some things are totally different (teachers saying “no technology out, please” before every class, and prom tickets being $50!!!).
I spoke to four different classes about my experience with organ donation–a brief overview of CF (all of the kids had taken biology A at this point so they knew what a “genetic disease” was), how long I was wait-listed, how long the recovery took, some of the surgical ins and out (lungs are like balloons that can be deflated to be inserted, where my scar is). The fact that I had graduated from the school seemed to touch a chord with them–as in, I was once where they were (Literally. Exactly where they were.)
Sometimes organ donation can seem really foreign and exotic, but when you meet someone who’s had it done, I think that really helps. Most of the talk in each class was done by a Lifeline of Ohio community educator, who talked to them about what can be donated, how that’s decided, what it means to be an organ donor, dispelling myths about donation, and using foam organs as visuals, to show them what can be donated, solid-organ wise (in case you’re curious: lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, small intestine, and pancreas; tissue wise: your corneas, muscle, bone, skin, tendons, heart valves).
The classes were enthusiastic and asked a lot of great questions. I had a lot of fun being with them and getting to talk to them about how organ donation doesn’t just save faceless people–I have a family, I have a life because of my donor.
April is Donate Life month. Are you an organ donor? 🙂 🙂