St. Mark's Hospital - April 02, 2019

Jeni Stepien walked down the aisle in Swissvale, Pa., arm-in-arm with the man whose life was saved 10 years ago by her murdered father’s donated heart. Though bittersweet for assembled family members, the moment clearly demonstrated how deeply moving and important organ donation can be.

In fact, one person can save or improve the life of up to 50 other people by sharing his or her organs, eyes and tissue. But sadly, more than 20 people die every day because of organ shortages.

Only 40 percent of U.S. adults are registered organ donors (48 percent offer their eyes; 45 percent tissue). Unfortunately, many choose not to register because of common misperceptions about organ donation. Don’t let these organ donation myths keep you from signing up:

Myth 1: I can’t be an organ donor because of my medical condition

It doesn’t matter what your medical history is – anyone can register to be a donor. You may still be able to donate even if you have an illness.

At the time of death, a team of professionals will determine whether donation is possible given your medical history. Only a few conditions – like an HIV infection – would prevent a person from becoming a donor.

Myth 2: I can’t be an organ donor because I’m too old

You can sign up to be an organ donor at any age. In fact, the oldest donor in the U.S. was 92 years old. It’s not how old you are that matters, it’s the health and condition of your organs.

Myth 3: If I’m listed as an organ donor, a doctor might not try to save my life

Saving your life is the only priority when you’re admitted for care. All lifesaving methods must have failed before donation can even become a possibility.

So if you’ve been on the fence about becoming a donor, think about what your legacy could do! It’s easier than ever to sign up – you don’t have to wait until you renew your driver’s license.

Sign up today and make someone’s tomorrow.


This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.