Nebraska hits milestone, has room to improve

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You won't find a more generous people than those in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas.

There is evidence nearly every day on the pages of the McCook Gazette, fund drives and food collections, benefit dinners and special events all designed to help make life better for someone in need, whether a hungry family, someone facing overwhelming medical bills -- even innocent animals looking for a forever home.

There's always room for improvement, however, and while we may be quick to drop a few dollars into the red bucket at Christmas or leave some nonperishable food on the steps for collection, about half of us haven't signed up to donate organs after our death.

It's not that Nebraska hasn't responded to the need.

Kyle Herber, executive director of Nebraska Organ Recovery System, announced that the Donor Registry of Nebraska has now grown to 700,000 registrants statewide.

"This is a big step toward providing the much-needed organs for life-saving surgeries, corneal transplants and various tissues used to enhance the lives of so many," said Herber, who runs the federally designated organ procurement organization for Nebraska.

But many more of that other half of Nebraska drivers need to sign up if we're to have enough organs to meet the need.

There are about 400 Nebraskans on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. Nationally, the waiting list is over 120,000 people, and every 10 minutes, another is added to the list. Sadly, 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant.

"To keep up with the needs of not only Nebraskans but all Americans on the organ transplant waiting list, we really need to increase our registry to 1 million people within the next few years," Herber said.

To join the Donor Registry of Nebraska and give the gift of life, go to www.NeDonation.org to register today.

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