By: Claire McCarthy, MD, FAAP
Did you know that every year more than 1,700 children are saved by organ donation?
And did you know that there are more than 2,000 children waiting for an organ donation?
Organ and tissue donation saves lives—and gives sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, new faces or new hands to those who have had terrible accidents. It’s a donation that literally changes everything for the recipient; it’s a donation that gives life and hope in the truest way possible.
But there aren’t enough donors. While every day about 79 people of all ages receive an organ donation, every day 22 people die while they wait for one.
Organ donation isn’t always easy to talk and think about—because while some donations
bone marrow or
kidney donations) come from people who are alive and well, most
(such as heart or lung donations) come from someone who is dying. Nobody wants to think about that.
But we all do need to think about it—because there may come a time when the unthinkable happens and a doctor will come and ask us about organ donation. Time is of the essence when answering. That’s why it’s better to think about it and never have to answer the question than to not think about it and waste precious, life-saving time.
Did you know that 8 lives can be saved by one donor?
That’s a lot of lives to save. It doesn’t make the tragedy of losing someone we love any less—but saving lives is a beautiful way to honor our loved one, and let something good come of something unspeakably horrible.
To learn more about organ donation, and register to be an organ donor yourself, visit
About Dr. McCarthy:
Claire McCarthy, MD, FAAP is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, a senior editor for Harvard Health Publications, and an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She writes about health and parenting for the
Harvard Health Blog, Huffington Post and many other online and print publications.