As teenagers, every one of us goes through a driver's education course. We get our permits, take our written and driving tests, and then the big day comes when we are excited to go to the DMV to get our licenses.
What most of us don't pay a lot of attention to is the paperwork we sign before receiving our licenses. That paperwork may seem like some tedious documents you have to hurry and sign so that you can rush through the doors and be handed your freedom. But not only does the paperwork confirm your personal information, it also holds one lingering and important question:
"Do you want to be an organ donor?" Do you want to know that when your time comes to pass away, you could possibly be saving lives?
I personally feel very strongly about being a donor, as the miracle of saving lives through transplants has touched my family in an unbelievable way. My father was diagnosed with kidney disease and received a kidney transplant that basically saved his life in 2010. The struggle he and our family endured at that time was by far the hardest situation I have ever been through.
My dad is truly an amazing guy, he is my rock; I find strength in myself by going to him for support. Since he's one of the most influential people in my life, I cannot even begin to imagine life without him by my side. Some of the things my dad had to overcome with getting a new kidney were incredible, and although he was strong through it all, it wouldn't have been possible if someone hadn't said yes to being a donor.
My appreciation for this program is incomparable to everything else I feel passionately about; if it wasn't for this program, a lot of people wouldn't be given the greatest gift there is -- the chance at life. I find comfort in knowing that I can give back to the program that gave back to my family and me, by simply checking yes to being a donor on my driver's license.
One of the biggest reasons teenagers say no to being a donor is because they simply do not know enough about it to make a rational decision. Most teens who check no are really saying "I don't know" in their heads -- or at least that's how some have responded when I've asked them about it. There are a lot of teenagers who just "don't know" enough about what being a donor really is or why it is such a big decision.
For those people, I ask you to stop and realize the importance of this decision, and if you are unsure about what it involves, then talk to someone about it -- a parent, religious leader, teacher, or anyone who is better informed about the purposes of donation. Being a donor is a huge deal, and I fully understand people saying no because of reasons like religious beliefs or strong personal opinions. That is why if you just ask someone, you may be surprised at their answers, and it may affect your decision greatly.
Also, if you look on the www.yesutah.org website, you will find a whole list of informative facts and questions that have been answered which may help you through any negative thoughts on donation that you may have.
Not only can being a donor mean that you're donating your organs, but others may also benefit from your bone marrow, blood, corneas and various tissues. One person can save up to eight lives, and seriously improve dozens more, just by being a donor. So "Say Yes Utah" and check yes to being a donor on your license registration, or register at the www.yesutah.org website.
It's never too late to become a donor, but when it comes down to it, it's your own personal decision. All I ask is you put more thought into it; if you have already said no, think about it. Why did you say no? If there isn't a strong enough reason that's keeping you from possibly saving lives, then maybe now is the time you should reconsider your answer.
"Yes" may be just one simple word, but it also can have such a significant impact on your life or the lives of others. As it says on The National Network of Organ Donors' website, "Perpetuate Life ... Donate."
Danielle Collier is a sophomore at Northridge High School. She enjoys being with friends, volleyball, shopping, writing and traveling. Contact her at email@example.com.