5W Wednesday: Michigan Libraries for Life

Our 5W Wednesday series highlights a variety of health care organizations, professionals and programs that keep our community healthy.

What is Michigan Libraries for Life?
Michigan Libraries for Life is a collaboration of libraries on several university campuses across the state of Michigan, coordinated by Taubman Health Sciences Library. This is an expansion of last year’s MLibrary for Life program, which registered 223 new organ donors at 5 libraries on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and Flint campuses, and provided general organ donor and registration information to hundreds more.

The drive coordinates with Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s designated organ and tissue recovery program, and is closely allied with University of Michigan effort Wolverines for Life, Gift of Life, Be the Match, Red Cross, and the Michigan Eye Bank.

Who can become a donor?
Anyone is a potential donor despite age or medical conditions, so please don’t rule yourself out. There’s no age limit for organ donation (Michigan has successfully transplanted the organs of donors in their 90s). Some medical conditions could make your heart or kidneys non transplantable, for example, but your pancreas or liver could help someone on the waiting list. Donors with some medical conditions, such as hepatitis or HIV, are able to save or prolong the lives of waiting patients with the exact same diagnosis. Medical criteria for organ donation changes as medical advances occur; and a physician evaluates all potential donors at the time of death to determine what can be used to help others. Because of the critical need for organs, more people are deciding to become living donors. Most living donors offer a kidney to save a life but part of a lung or a section of liver also can be donated.

Why should I donate?
About 3,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ in Michigan today. Nationwide, the number stands at 110,000. People die waiting every single day because the number in need greatly outpaces the organs available. There is an especially critical need for hearts, livers, and kidneys. Your decision to someday donate your organs could save up to eight lives. Your tissue can ease the pain and improve the lives of up to 50 more sick or injured people.

It is important to register as a donor because it relieves your grieving family of having to make a decision when you die. Having your wishes documented also ensures that your decision to donate will be carried out, if medically possible.

Where can I register as a donor?
Libraries at Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley University, Michigan State University, and all three University of Michigan campuses (Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint) will be participating in Michigan Libraries for Life. Check the Michigan Libraries for Life schedule for specific locations at each campus. *This list will continue to be updated as the event draws nearer.

When is the event?
The Michigan Libraries for Life organ donor registration drive will take place September 19-20, 2011. Please check the schedule online to find a time at a location near you to participate in this effort!

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