Emily Niebrugge of Live On Nebraska was our program on January 24, 2019 at Lincoln South Rotary Club.
The presentation was started by Lincoln South Rotary Club Member Aubrey Paulsen who is involved with the program. She shared her experience and motivation. A friend of her son from school was killed in a car accident - Beckett Arp age 6. As everyone grieved the opportunity to donate organs came up. Aubrey watched as Beckett's parents considered the options. With their decision came some relief and hope as their son's kidney was used to save the life of another - keeping them from going through the grief they were feeling.
We watched a clip of Beckett's parents as they discussed coming to the decision. They reminded us all that nothing will change what has happened to our loved one, but we can help the loved one of someone else.
Live On Nebraska (formerly Nebraska Organ Recovery) works on the donation side of organ and tissue transplants.
To be a donor, the death had to occur in the hospital. The organs need to have oxygen. And, the person needs to be declared brain dead. The donation is where it starts - then the recipient is identified - then the teams get together to schedule the transplant. Organs can only be kept alive outside of a living body for a short time so that limits recipients. Other factors deal with match (blood type for example) are considered as well as how long they have been on the list and body size. The actual match is done through United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
The types of donations that can be made:are more than most think, including organ, tissue/bone, eye and birth tissue. You can put restrictions on your donations such as specific usage. If an item cannot be used for transplant, it might still be useful in research.
  • 113,000 people are on the list waiting for life-saving transplant
  • 20 people die daily while on the list
  • 1 person is added to the list every 10 minutes which means the waiting list continues to grow
In Nebraska
  • 425 people are on the list waiting for life-saving transplant
  • 1 person dies each week while on the list
  • Last year in the entire state of Nebraska there were 126 donations made
The highest need is kidney. About 90,000 nationwide are currently waiting for kidneys. Even with the expense of a transplant, some insurance companies feel that cost is less in the long run than regular dialysis treatments.
One organ donor has the potential to save 8 lives - lungs(2), heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys (2) and intestines.
One tissue donor has the ability to enhance 100 lives. Most of those are not life-saving procedures - rather life-enhancing. These would be donations of corneas, heart valves, bones, skin, veins and connective tissues.
There is no age limitation to be a donor, other than the minimum age to get a driver's license. Many elderly people have donated. The oldest of record in Nebraska was 85 but there was a recent donation by a person at age 97. There was a recent donation in England by a 102 year old of corneas.
There is much more, including the opportunity to register as a donor, at https://liveonnebraska.org/.