September 1, 2021

7 Reasons to Not Count Yourself Out

Written by: Kelley McClellan

Multiracial grandfather and son register as organ donor

Have you considered being an organ, eye and tissue donor? Maybe you think one person can’t make a difference, but the truth is every heroic donor matters. Thousands of people are on the organ transplant waiting list and hundreds of thousands others need tissue transplants each year. Yet here in the United States, there aren’t enough heroes to meet the need and about 22 people pass away each day while waiting for an organ.  

Everyone Can Be a Hero

With organ, eye and tissue donation, everyone has the opportunity to give the gift of life. A single heroic donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation and heal over 75 others through ocular and tissue donation. Today, more than 107,000 Americans are on the waitlist to receive a life-saving organ transplant. The need for organ transplants is greatest in multicultural communities. In fact, people from minority communities represent approximately 60% of the transplant waiting list. 

7 Ways People Rule Themselves Out

When it comes to donation, many automatically rule themselves out due to common misconceptions. We’re here to tell you the gift is in saying ‘YES.’ You bring hope to those waiting when you choose to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. Here are the top seven reasons many count themselves out and why they aren’t true:

1. I'm not in good health.

Like many, you may believe that your health status affects your ability to be a donor. You may be worried that your organs and tissues aren’t suitable for donation.


The truth is, there are very few medical conditions that would keep you from being a donor. Even if you have a chronic condition that affects one organ, your other organs and tissues can still be viable for donation. The final determination will be made by a medical professional. Don’t count yourself out just because your health isn’t perfect.

2. I have/had cancer.

Some people wonder if the fact they have or had cancer will impact their ability to donate. Are organs and tissues transplantable after cancer treatment?


Many cancer survivors are able to donate without issues. Whether or not current cancer patients can donate depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of cancer and associated medical conditions. The ultimate decision will be left up to a medical professional. In most instances, corneal donation is possible with active and past cancer due to the avascular nature of corneal tissue.

3. Medical staff won't try as hard to save my life.

As an organ, eye and tissue donor, you might worry that you won’t be treated the same as any other patient at the hospital. We want to ensure that you will receive the quality care you deserve no matter if you’re a registered donor or not.


When you’re taken to a hospital for a life-threatening illness or injury, each member of your medical team will be dedicated to your care. In fact, they take a medical oath promising this. Doctors who specialize in your condition and/or injuries will do everything they can to save your life and are different from the doctors/medical teams who specialize in transplantation.

4. I'm too old.

You may believe you’re too old for donation.


Age isn’t a factor when it comes to all donation. In fact, one out of every three organ donors in 2020 was over the age of 50. Upon death, doctors decide if your organs and tissues are suitable for donation based on specific medical criteria. In fact, in May of this year, the oldest organ donor in United States history was 95-years-old. Read more about Cecil’s story here!  If you’ve been holding back registering as a donor due to your age, you can rest assured that it won’t affect your ability to donate.

5. I'm too young.

If you’re underage or have underage family members, the misconception is that young people can’t be organ, eye and tissue donors, because they aren’t fully developed yet. 


In many states, you can still register as a donor if you’re under the age of 18. However, your parents or guardian will still have the final say in whether or not you can donate due to an affidavit that needs to be signed. The best thing you can do is to talk to your parents about donation and why you want to register.

6. I won't be able to have an open-casket funeral.

When someone passes away, loved ones may want the ability to say goodbye by having an open-casket funeral. Will you be able to have an open-casket funeral after donation?


When someone donates, their body is treated with the utmost respect. Donation is treated like other surgical medical procedures and Nevada Donor Network treats each heroic donor with dignity, respect and exceptional care. If you donate, you can rest assured that it won’t impact your ability to have an open-casket funeral. Our team works closely with local funeral homes to ensure these needs are met. 

7. My religion doesn’t support donation.

If you’re religious, you may be concerned about how your religion views organ, eye and tissue donation. This uncertainty may have prevented you from registering.


All major religions in the U.S. support or encourage donation. If you want to know more about your religion’s stance on organ donation, consult with a member of leadership at your place of worship or visit this link.

Their Legacies Live On

Traci Trout was a mother and preschool teacher who lost her life to cancer at the age of 53, but her innate kindness lives on. During her life, she spoke of her sorrow for young children who were sick in the hospital, and she never wanted others to feel that kind of pain. She showed compassion and love for everyone around her even as her cancer took its toll. Her legacy lives on through the cornea donation, a gift she gave to two women in Egypt. Even with cancer, she was able to be a donor and make the gift of sight possible for others and ultimately change their life. 

Ryan Molina was diagnosed with asthma at just eight months old. However, he was a joyful child who loved to play, sing, dance and hike with his family. As he got older, his asthma grew worse, resulting in many stays in the hospital. In 2012, he had a severe asthma attack that led to him needing ventilation and medical intervention. When the doctors told his parents, Carlos and Carmen, there was nothing they could do to save his life, they knew there was another way Ryan could live on, organ donation. Thanks to their selflessness, Ryan was able to donate his heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestine to other children. His loving memory lives on through the children he healed.

Registering as a donor can save lives and extend your legacy of generosity years beyond your death. Register today to give the gift of life: