Steve Potts

I have heard reports of a city, a city that disappears each year.  It is not a large city but rather a smaller sized one of about 5000 people. This disappearing city doesn't just leave us like Brigadoon, the mythic Scottish town, but it vanishes one person at a time and is never to be seen again.  The borders of our town are vast as the United States of America for such a small town it covers a lot of territory.  Being small in numbers doesn't hinder its influence for it spans the ethnic borders of race.  Gender and economic borders make no difference for this killer has no heart.  Age is not given a thought as young and old are both taken, for this malignancy is no respecter of persons.

The death of a city is a serious thing yet each year a city dies. Each year around 5000 people disappear never to be seen again. These people are as diverse in their background as the population of the United States and die needlessly. They are the people that perish while on the national organ waiting list.

Each year the organ transplant list gets longer and the organs available for transplant become more scarce. Every 16 minutes a new name is added to the national patient transplant list whereas every day 12 people are taken off due to death. As of December, 25 1999 the UNOS national patient waiting list had 67,077 people on it. The total number of transplants according to the same source were 21,197 and the total removed from the waiting list due to death was 4,855. This is the small city which vanishes each year.

It is estimated that 75-85 % of the people in the United States believe that organ donation is good and right. The problem is that a lot of good and honest people, for some reason, never get around to making a decision to fill out their organ donor card and talk to their families about their important decision. So this is not only a plea to you who read this article but also to those that are touched by you. Yes you can make a difference to the lives of many people. Not only as an organ donor but also as one that will spread the word of organ donation to your friends and family. 

Remember the city that dies each year and know that there is only one way that it can be saved. That is by each one of us caring and telling people that surround us about the gift of life. Organ donation is truly the gift of life for those who wait for transplantation. Whether it be a heart, lung or any of the other organs,  those on the waiting list are counting on you. There are two dates that a person cannot control in their lives -- the date of one’s birth and the date of one’s death. Through organ donation we can give life to those who would otherwise perish. Let us be the ones to give back life to the thousands who are counting on the all important gift of life.

Pottsy was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in Sept '99.   In September 2000  he received a lung transplant at Jewish Hospital, Louisville, KY.  

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