Throughout the nation, people are making plans to celebrate our nation’s freedom by attending parades, barbeques and fireworks. Unfortunately, thousands of people in the United States are still fighting for their independence. They are fighting to stay alive long enough to become independent of dialysis, mechanical heart pumps and organ disease through transplantation.

For many of the over 800 Utahns on the transplant waiting list, dialysis or mechanical heart pumps help them survive while they wait for transplant. Many others depend on medical professionals and sheer determination to survive until transplant.

The process to help these people is simple. Check the box to be an organ donor when you renew your driver license or state ID card, or better yet, register online.

While we typically think of donation as something we do after we pass, there are things each of us can do today. Consider donating blood; a single blood donation can help up to three people. You might also consider becoming a living kidney donor. Through the Good Samaritan Kidney Donation in Utah, 75 people have donated a kidney to save the life of someone they didn’t know.

Alex McDonald

Salt Lake City