You’re Never Too Old to Donate Organs—-well, on second thought

August 3rd, 2013 By: Betty Long

My friend's grandmother, who within a few weeks will turn 100 years old!, is blessedly still 'sharp,' as we say.  Though physically frail and wheelchair bound, she maintains her ability to engage in spirited conversations with her granddaughter—sometimes to the frustration of my friend.

Ten years ago, Nana, as she is affectionately called by her family, was having one such spirited conversation with my friend.  The topic was organ donation.  Yes, organ donation—-at 90 years old.  Don't ask HOW the topic came up!  While gently and delicately trying to point out to her that perhaps her 90 year old organs would not be an organ registry's "top pick," shall we say, my friend never expected Nana to assert, "They kill you."  Nana went on to explain that the recent celebrity who had received a heart and liver from a deceased 35 y/o motorcycle rider got them because the motorcycle rider was killed for his organs.

As my mother used to say, "You're talking nonsense," but Nana would have none of her granddaughter's reality-based assertions to the contrary.  No, she was not going to sign up to be an organ donor (again, at 90) because that would mean she would be on the 'hit list' and she fully intended to continue living.

While I appreciate Nana considering to be an organ donor at her seasoned age, I am disappointed to hear her rationale for not being one.  Continued education about organ donation must be done so that myths like "They kill you for your organs" can be dispelled.

As Nana prepares for her 100th birthday, I am grateful for her continued ability to engage in conversation, however baffling her views are about organ donation.  Happy Birthday, Nana.

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