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Letter: A 7-year-old superhero

Published: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:08 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:11 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to educate the public about organ and tissue donation and encourage people to become organ and tissue donors by joining the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. 

More than 5,000 people in Illinois are waiting for life-saving organ transplants, and one in every 20 Americans will need some sort of tissue transplant in their lifetime. As an “Advocates for Hope” volunteer for the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network – and a strong advocate of organ and tissue donation – I call on you to urge your readers to help us meet this great need. 

Just one organ donor can save the lives of as many as nine people, and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of as many as 25 people. Clearly, one person can make a big difference. And one simple action can produce an extraordinary result. 

Take our son Dylan, for example. Dylan was in a car accident in July 2007, and – despite valiant efforts to save him – the swelling in his brain proved simply too much and he was pronounced brain dead. The next day, Dylan become a superhero! And how fitting is it that a fan of superheroes gets to become one? Not many 7-year-olds get the chance to be a true superhero. And Dylan’s super powers have literally reached across the globe. 

Dylan’s heart saved a teenage girl in South Carolina. Dylan’s kidneys saved a 65-year-old man in Kansas. Isn’t it amazing a 7-year-old’s kidney’s saved a grown man? And this man spent years helping children, volunteering at children’s hospitals. Now a child – of all people – helps him in return? Isn’t that pretty cool? 

And Dylan’s liver saved a young man. Despite the transplant taking place in Chicago, this young man lives halfway around the world in the United Arab Emirates. 

Dylan is a world famous superhero! And just think, when Dylan’s younger recipients have children someday, Dylan’s superpower will live on forever! 

Please help me encourage the people in our community to go to GiftofHope.org to learn more about organ, tissue, eye and blood donation and to register their decisions to be donors. Residents in our community also can register at any events planned at local hospitals to celebrate and promote National Donate Life Month or at any Illinois driver services facility. 

Dan Richardson

Aurora

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