Fans of singer and actress Selena Gomez were surprised and relieved by her recent announcement of receiving a kidney transplant earlier this month. Gomez received a kidney from friend and actress Francia Raisa. Complications from Gomez’s lupus caused her to have kidney problems that required the transplant.
Since her lupus diagnosis in 2015, Gomez has been outspoken about her medical history and how important these medical procedures are to her and many others. Gomez has raised the topic nationally, while Elizabethtown College is being introduced to organ donation advocacy with the arrival of the Donate Life Club.
Donate Life Club originated last year after Donate Life Club president, junior Kyle Lumbert, hosted a small awareness program in Schlosser last April and received a warm reception. Lumbert’s mother received a heart transplant in his senior year of high school, and he has been passionate about the cause ever since.
After speaking with representatives in Hershey, including those from Gift of Life, Lumbert began the preparations to create a chapter on Etown’s campus. Lumbert asked Cheri Way, office manager of Thomspon Gymnasium, to be the advisor based on her past experience.
“My husband received his first kidney in 1995,” Way said. “I donated a kidney to my sister-in-law in 2007. Clearly, it’s a family thing for me!”
While both are supporters of organ donation, Lumbert and Way understand the reasons people do not agree with donation and are not donors.
The first explanation is simple: people know a lot about donation after death but not a lot about living donation.
“People tend to think of organ donation as something they do after they die,” Way said, “but a lot of the time for several procedures, a living donor is a good option.”
Living donations of kidneys and parts of livers are most common. Recipients and donors are matched by blood type, then taken to the hospital together and prepped for surgery. When the procedure is finished, both go through a recovery period.
Misconceptions about donation after death also tend to steer people away from becoming organ donors.
“One of the big misconceptions is that if a person goes through a trauma and is known to be an organ donor, then the first response team won’t try as hard to save the person because they need the organs,” Lumbert said.
“For a lot of people, there is the fear that organ donation will go against their religious beliefs,” said Way.
For those interested in learning about organ donation and spreading awareness, Donate Life meets every other Tuesday in Nicarry 202 at 8 p.m.
We released a poll the week before asking people what they knew about organ donation, if they were organ donors, and if they knew anybody who had received an organ donation. We received 862 total responses and 235 comments regarding what students knew about organ donation and why they chose to be or not to be an organ donor.
Q1: What do you know about organ donation?
Q2: Are you an organ donor?
Q3: Do you know someone who has been the recipient of an organ donation?
“Jay Talk” Quotes from Students and Staff
“My mom received a heart about three years ago and it has really changed how I see life” ~ Kyle Lumbert, junior and president of Donate Life
“There are so few viable organs out there and the need is so great, and that is why it is important to consider living donation as well [as posthumous donation.]” ~ Cheri Way, advisor and Thompson Gymnasium Office Manager
“I don’t know a lot about it, especially living donation, but I think it’s worth it. If I’ve passed away, why not do something for someone else after the fact?” ~ Morgan Smith, first-year
“I was an organ donor recipient in 2005 and I’ve just been confirmed for another transplant this year. It can be so frustrating waiting on this thing to save your life. I will always help people get everything they need to register.”~ Joe Gotowski, sophomore
“I was wary about putting it on my permit when I first received my drivers license, but may renew it once I turn 21.” ~ Anonymous Response