Being an organ donor is a selfless act that has the potential to save a number of lives. The story of Mason's Mission has inspired thousands to register for organ donation. Will it do the same for you?
When Mason suffered fatal injuries in 2012, at the age of just 14 months old, doctors said there was no hope for recovery. Faced with a difficult choice, Mason’s parents decided he had one more mission to accomplish in his short, but deeply meaningful life and chose to donate his organs.
Through that selfless act, Mason was able to give the gift of life to several children his age - children who, before Mason’s gift, had no hope of survival.
Organ Donation Saves Lives
For many families like Mason’s, national observances such as National Donor Day in February and National Donate Life Month in April will forever be a reminder that there is hope for those who need a life-saving transplant, and that there is reason to celebrate those who saved lives through the gift of donation.
In some way, organ donation has likely touched all of our lives. We either know someone who was saved because of donation, have loved someone who made the choice to donate and save a life, or have chosen to register to donate our organs and tissues in the hopes that they will be useful to others.
But there is much more awareness and action that needs to take place. According to organdonor.gov, 116,000 men, women, and children are on the national transplant waiting list. Each day, 80 individuals receive organ transplants, but 20 individuals die waiting for a donation.
Mason's Mission: A Legacy of Love
In order to raise awareness and funds for organ donation in New Jersey, Mason's Mission was formed. Each year, this team - featuring an ever-growing group of Mason’s family, friends, and those who simply believe in Mason’s cause - participates in the Gift of Life Donor Program’s Donor Dash, which raises awareness and funding for organ and tissue donation.
Many of the participants in Donor Dash know all too well the hard choices that can come with deciding to donate, but also the joy that can come from making a difference by doing so. In fact, Mason's parents have heard from three of the four families whose children Mason helped heal. One eight-year-old boy, who received Mason’s lungs, wanted to thank Mason’s parents personally. And countless individuals have shared with them that they registered as an organ donor because of Mason’s story.
It’s a legacy they want to keep alive. As Mason’s mother Kellie Ness explained in a blog post on the Gift of Life Donor Program website, “We don’t want to focus on Mason being gone or how he died. We want to focus on the positive, and that’s what donation has allowed us to do. We went from darkness to light because of it.”
Raising Awareness About Tissue and Organ Donation
Sunday, April 15, marks the 23rd annual Donor Dash for the Gift of Life Donor Program. For more information, visit www.donors1.org. You can also learn more about organ and tissue donation or register to be an organ donor on the U.S. government’s national organ donor website. And this article, Why Being An Organ Donor Matters, describes types of organ donations, the importance of registering, and steps you should take once you register to make sure your wishes are known.