The thought of donating your organs makes you squeamish? You want to take them with you when you die?

The Seale family of Kerens is happy one caring person didn’t feel that way, donating organs that will help not only oldest child John David who got two lungs, but others who will use that person’s eyes, liver, heart and kidneys to live on.

“I know it was an answer to a prayer,” Becky Seale, John’s mother, said this week. “I know God works his miracles too ... but we needed a donor.”

Pam Silvestri, the community/media services director for the Southwest Organ Bank, said this region saw a 28 percent increase in donations from 2002 to 2003 and then another 7 percent increase in 2004.

“(But) there are still more than 90,000 people waiting and while an average of 70-plus people get transplants daily, an average of 17 people die each day before the organs they need become available,” Silvestri wrote in an e-mail to the Daily Sun Thursday.

Silvestri listed several misconceptions related to organ donation that many people believe.

n If a person designates that he or she wants to be a donor “they” won’t try to save his life but will let him or her die in order get the organs. “Hospitals are there only to save lives ... and only if a life can’t be saved will that person be referred for donation,” Silvestri wrote. “And the family sill has to say ‘yes.’”

n That some people are too old, too sick or “had too much fun in life” to be considered for organ donation. “Folks shouldn’t rule themselves out, the health of the organ is more important than age,” she wrote. “Many cancer survivors rule themselves out, and many diabetics, or those with hepatitis ... none are ‘rule outs’.”

n Organ donation rules out a normal funeral service because a donor will be too cut up. “Not true,” Silvestri explained in the e-mail. “All we do is make a midline incision and carefully remove the organs, then suture the incision.”

n Organ donation costs the donor’s family money. “It doesn’t ... organ donation agencies pick up all costs and those costs are passed along to organ recipients and their insurance companies,” Silvestri stated.

n Organ recipients can’t be organ donors. “They can and many already have been,” she added.

Silvestri stressed it is important for people interested in donating organs to talk with their families about it to make sure their wishes are honored.

Becky Seale said they know nothing about the donor who passed his or her lungs along to her son. They only know at this time that those lungs had to be flown into Dallas for John David’s transplant surgery. But, she said, the family of the donor has a year to contact the Seale family if they want to.

“It’s sad that someone had to die for John to live,” Becky said. “But their (the donor’s) legacy lives on in John. They’re not jest put in the ground, they get to live on.

“I know it was an answer to prayer ... God works his miracles too ... but we had to have a donor.”

For more information about organ donation, call (800) 788-8058 or visit on the Internet.


Loyd Cook may be contacted via e-mail at

Transplant facts: Why donate?

• A single donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people

• Approximately 74 organ transplants take place every day in the United States.

• A living donor can supply a kidney or a portion of their liver, lung, pancreas or intestine.

• About three-quarters of all living donors are relatives of their recipient, most commonly siblings.

• The number of unrelated living donors has nearly tripled since ’98.

• An average of 17 patients a day die waiting for a transplant.

• About 118 people are added to the nation’s transplant waiting list each day; one every 10 minutes.

• More than 90,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S.; about 600 of them are 5 years old or younger.


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