Tissue Donation Can Save Lives
When people are asked about registering to donate, they often think of organ donation. Many don’t know what tissue donation is or that it is just as life-changing. For one girl, Zamora Simpson, it allowed her to be a normal teenager again.
At just 14 years old, Zamora was told she needed immediate surgery on her spine due to severe scoliosis that put pressure on her lungs and made it difficult to breathe. She had surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital using a donated bone graft to encourage new bone growth during the healing process.
Today, Zamora can breathe normally and enjoy everyday activities again – walking, hiking, camping and even wearing a backpack to school.
“After my surgery, I was most excited to go back to school because I just wanted to be normal again, and tissue donation allowed me to do that,” Zamora says.
Just one tissue donor can enhance more than 150 lives, providing hope to the estimated one in 20 Americans who will need some type of tissue transplant in their lifetime. Local organizations like LifeNet Health, a full-service tissue bank, help recover and prepare donor tissues for transplantation and ensure they get to those in need.
Donated tissue implants, called allografts, can be used to repair injuries to bone like Zamora’s as well as a range of damaged tissue such as tendons, ligaments, skin and more. They can also come in the form of a life-saving heart valve or grafts for post-mastectomy reconstruction for breast cancer patients.
Many people are registered donors, as demonstrated by the red heart on their driver’s license, and it’s important to understand that tissue donation is part of that. By educating families on the donation process, the hope is that even more people will be able to donate, providing critical allografts for patients within our community.
THIS MONTH, TAKE TIME TO:
- Learn more about the donation process.
- Talk to your loved ones about your wishes for organ and tissue donation. Donate Life Month, held every April, is a great way to start the conversation.
- Help educate the community by sharing the importance of donation with your family and friends who may or may not be registered.
- If you haven’t already, register to be an organ and tissue donor at org.
More information is available at lifenethealth.org
More on Zamora’s story: https://youtu.be/iKaOERRKjI4