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Organ Donation: A Message From Founder John T. Haller

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Submitted by John T. Haller on June 29, 2015 - 11:03pm

John T. Haller pictureIt's been a couple years since I last posted about this, but I felt it was worth revisiting today (apologies for the pseudo-repost). I wanted to again make a short blog post to remind everyone of the importance of being an organ donor. As some long-time users know, I donated a kidney to my father 15 years ago today. Over the years, I've coached a few people though the process as well. If anyone is in a position where you're thinking of donating to a friend or loved one, I'm more than happy to share my experience and advice.

More importantly, there's something you can do today that won't require much on your part: signing up for the organ donor program in your state or country. In the US alone, 120,000 people are currently waiting for an organ. The best part is that becoming a donor is relatively easy (become a donor in the US). If you're not in the US, there's likely a similar organization in your country. Once registered, if something happens to you, you can leave a legacy behind by saving the lives of others. In some countries, being an organ donor is the default unless you opt-out. So, be sure to check what your country's policies are and that you're registered.

If you'd like to do something a bit more, you can also sign up to donate bone marrow through Be The Match. Bone marrow donation can help and even cure life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. You make an optional (but encouraged) donation, swab your cheek, and then wait to see if you match someone who needs a bone marrow transplant. If they do, there's a process to donation that's explained on the site. It's a bit more involved than donating blood, but since you'll be responsible for directly saving someone's life, it's worth it.

Lastly, there's always signing up to give blood. Your local blood bank or hospital will have the details on it. It's doesn't take too long, doesn't hurt much, and your single pint of blood can be used to help save up to three lives.

That's it for this quick blog post. I apologize for going off the topic of portable apps again, but I wanted to share something that was important to me. And, who knows, together, we could help save the life of someone who goes on to develop cool new software for us all to enjoy. There, now it's related!

Have a great week and thank you for your time.



I have a kidney transplant since 2004... I was in dialysis for 9 years (26 surgeries, 3 peritonitis, 7 comas, etc). Thanks to a cadaveric donor I am doing great so far. It is a second chance I received from a generous people -parents of the donor that granted that donation-
Life is a gift, and life gives gifts every single day. Open your mind and your heart, and do not be afraid to become an organ donor... a giver.

John T. Haller, thank you for this post... I hope all those that have read these lines feel the power of save lives, the power of giving, and how you can make the difference!

Thank you Hunted for sharing you story, and for the message given in the second paragraph. The transplant has clearly led to a major improvement to you life, and I wish you continued good health.

This was well timed. Just two weeks before this blog post was submitted, I was approached by Gift of Life at a local high school robotics competition to donate bone marrow. I have to admit, I did struggle with the decision to sign up to donate bone marrow. The procedure sounded scary, and I made the excuse that I would be in college for the next 4 years and the 20 days of downtime to heal after donating would be detrimental to my studies. As a friend put it when he noticed I was struggling with the decision, "Well, I think it's perfectly reasonable to not want to be cut open". (Being cut open is an exaggeration if you're donating bone marrow/stem cells.)

While I respect the above reasoning others may have, ultimately, I made the decision to donate. I was reminded of John's previous message about kidney donation years back. John didn't say it, but I think helping others is at the heart of We're an open source non-profit community, and this message that John reminds us of is one of the ways we help without code.

Beginning at 18 I gave blood, then platelets, regularly -- basically, as often as permitted -- for more than 50 years, and to me it seems one of the best things I've done. For 30 years I was a registered organ donor.

It was never fun to have a needle in my arm, but afterwards I always felt great, which made the experience more than worthwhile. I'm happy I was able to help all the people who got my blood.

I write "gave", "felt", and "was a registered donor" because since I was diagnosed with cancer I can't do that anymore. I miss it.

There's no substitute for blood or donated organs, and they're equally valuable no matter whether you're rich or poor, male or female, or (for blood) young or old. Do it! It will give you satisfaction and self-respect you can get no other way.