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Letters: April is Organ Donor Month

April is Organ Donor Month My knowledge of organ donation was nil until July 2006. That was the day doctors at Innovis Health in Fargo declared my 42-year-old son "brain dead." but instead of shutting down the machines, it was disclosed that my s...

April is Organ

Donor Month

My knowledge of organ donation was nil until July 2006. That was the day doctors at Innovis Health in Fargo declared my 42-year-old son "brain dead." but instead of shutting down the machines, it was disclosed that my son, Alec, wished to be a "donor."

From that moment on, I have been tuned in and turned on to organ donation. It was a devastating experience to see my beautiful son in a coma and hooked up to all that paraphernalia.

He was a mortician and funeral director and he and I talked quite often about end-of-life issues, but organ donation had never been discussed. I am so thankful he had shared his wishes with his wife, Bea.

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After the funeral and the initial shock of his death abated, it came to me that it could be beneficial to others to be made aware of the process, plus any future progress in organ donation could be a memorial to my son.

Since then, I have become a Volunteer with Lifesource and I have learned a lot more about the process. Not only can major organs (heart, lungs, pancreas, liver, kidneys) be used but also many kinds of tissue. These can be used in medical procedures and also in research.

I hope people reading this would not only put "donor" on their drivers license, but would also have an open and honest discussion about the topic with their loved ones.

Even though it was painful to lose my beloved son, Alec, it was a great consolation to know his organs have gone to help many recipients have a better quality of life. I know his usable organs went to six people in several states.

In life, Alec was a very "giving" person and I will always hold him in my heart, not only as a wonderful child but also as a hero to his community. There are more than 100,000 people waiting for a life-saving transplant. Contact Lifesource at 888-5-DONATE or go to

www.DonateLifeMN.org .

Marianne Burnside

Detroit Lakes

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