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Column: Being organ donor gives others great chance to live

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On the right side of my driver’s license is the notation “Donor.” Beside it is a red heart. That signifies that I am an organ donor.

Whenever the time comes that I meet my maker, I want my organs to benefit people who need new, healthy organs to continue living. If I’m not using them, somebody should be.

Organ donation is a personal choice, but an important one that people should strongly consider. People can register to become organ and tissue donors when renewing or updating their driver’s licenses. This can be done easily online at

One also can register to become a donor at any time by visiting Anyone under age 18 needs a parent or guardian’s permission and signature, according to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles website.

Not everyone waits until death to donate organs. On the front page of the July 20 Republic is a story about 59-year-old Dascal Bunch, who will receive a kidney transplant from his 26-year-old son, Jordan Bunch. The surgery is planned for Aug. 7.

Dascal Bunch, the Columbus City Council president, has battled diabetes for about 20 years. The disease has blinded his right eye and is known to attack the kidneys. His kidneys get closer to failing each day, causing his health to rise and fall from day to day, from great to lousy.

Dascal Bunch has known for about a year that a transplant is needed. Jordan Bunch said volunteering to give one of his two healthy kidneys to his father was a “no-brainer.”

“He’s done so much for me throughout my life. It’s the ultimate way I can show my dad how much I love him,” Jordan Bunch said in the story.

Choosing to be an organ donor would be a good way for people to show how much they love life, even if it’s the continuation of another person’s and not theirs.

As of July 18, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network listed 122,877 candidates in need of an organ transplant. Of those, 100,890 needed a kidney; that’s 82 percent. The other types of organs most in need are:

  • Liver (15,748)
  • Heart (4,003)
  • Lung (1,620)
  • Pancreas (1,181)
  • Intestine (253)

Eighteen people die each day waiting for an organ, but one organ donor can save up to eight lives, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website.

Jordan Bunch said it was an easy decision to help his dad by donating a kidney. Choosing to be an organ donor was a “no-brainer” for me, too. Call it my way of paying forward. I hope that after you have finished reading this column that you take time to consider that choice.

More than 100,000 people are seeking a new lease on life through organ donations. Dascal Bunch is one.

He has help on the way. The others are waiting. You can choose to make a difference in their lives.

Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5639 or

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