During the National Alliance for Grieving Children Conference, Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Michelle Post of One Legacy. Michelle manages families who have donated tissue via their family members who have died. There’s a lot of angst around this. The human body deteriorates quickly after death, and it’s uncomfortable to be the one making this decision for a deceased family member. Donation isn’t for everyone, but most people think that if their loved one can help someone and continue a legacy in the life of someone else, the loved one would want to do that. Many people make their intentions known in advance by registering with the DMV or state organization.
However, others haven’t made the decision or talked to their family. Post calls families and asks if their loved one would want to live on in that manner. It must happen quickly after someone dies, so it’s a decision that sometimes has to be made briskly. There are various follow-up programs. At One Legacy, the follow-up is robust. There’s phone support, free face-to-face counseling, groups that meet monthly and an online support group on Facebook.
Paying it Forward
Families are “adopted” by other organ procurement services if there aren’t similar support networks. Usually, tissue donations have to provide referral services even if they don’t provide those services themselves. However, if you haven’t made your wishes known yet or someone in your family hasn’t, talk about it today. It’s much better to make an informed decision rather than wait until worst case scenarios.
There are many myths about organ donation that also need to be busted. Work with a tissue organization, such as One Legacy, to learn the truths behind donation, the benefits, and what to expect. This is a trying time, and tissue donation doesn’t need to be stressful.