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ARORA – Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency



If you’ve renewed your driver’s license lately, you’re sure to have faced an uncomfortable but important question. “Do you want to be an organ donor?”

Facing our mortality and choosing to donate our organs in the event of death is difficult to think about, but the need behind that question in the DMV line is great. Currently, 120,000 Americans are waiting for organ transplants and nearly a third will die before receiving a donated organ.

April is Organ Donor Awareness Month and Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) exists to match suitable donors to those in need of organ donation and help every Arkansan become aware of their potential to save lives.

Organ Donor Awareness Month

Organ donation is riddled with misconceptions. One of the most common misconceptions revolves around the idea that if you are an organ donor, doctors won’t work as hard to save you in an emergency situation. This is completely false. Organs aren’t recovered by the same doctors that treat emergency room patients and donation only occurs after a donor has been declared brain dead by the treating physician. Don’t let this myth keep you from becoming a donor.

Another commonly held misconception about organ donation is that someone can be too old or too sick to become a donor. The truth is that there is a wide variety of organs needed and being older or having an illness doesn’t preclude you from becoming a donor. ARORA encourages everyone to register as a donor. Organs are only evaluated for donation after the death of a donor, not at the time of registration, and the types of organs donated include the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver and intestines, as well as various tissues, including the eyes, skin, and tendons.

Finally, it’s possible for organ donors to have an open casket funeral, and the expense of organ donation is never placed on the organ donor’s family. ARORA works with donor families throughout the entire donation process to help with the donation and allow donor families to meet those who receive their loved ones’ organs.

The number of people waiting for an organ can seem so overwhelming it’s easy to dismiss. However, each person is unique; their story is their own. Whitney Edwards, of Van Buren, was 4 years old when she received her kidney transplant, enabling her to leave dialysis behind and become a normal kid. Similarly, DeAndre Robinson, of Monticello, also received a kidney transplant at a young age. They are only two of the many Arkansans affected by the decisions of others to become organ donors.

Function at the Junction

Wednesday, April 27th ARORA is holding FUNCTION AT THE JUNCTION, a bridge party and fun walk to celebrate organ donation. The event will be held at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock and will include a variety of activities like bounce houses, a balloon man, soccer tricks and Mexican folkloric dance. Food trucks will be on hand as well as access to free refreshments, and D.J. Williams and Mallory Brooks of KARK will emcee the event. You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about organ donation and register as a donor. Join ARORA at Function at the Junction to celebrate giving life to others.

Although April’s nearly over, the need for organ donors continues all year. There are several ways you can sign up to become an organ donor. Visit donatelifearkansas.org to register online. Visit ARORA’s website at arora.org for information on how organ donation works, discover more myths about donation, and read stories about donor families and recipients. Talk about organ donation with your family and decide if the decision is right for you.

Are you an organ donor

The next time you’re in line at the DMV to renew your license, you’ll be ready to answer the question, “Do you want to be an organ donor?” by responding, “I already am!”

Images from ARORA used with permission.

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Kimberly S. Mitchell loves journeys, real or imagined. She has hiked the Inca Trail, walked into Panama on a rickety wooden bridge and once missed the last train of the night in Paris and walked several miles home (with friends). She believes magic can be found in life and books, loves to watch the stars appear, and still dreams of backpacking the world. Now she writes adventures to send her characters on journeys, too. Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue - The Mystery of the Painted Book is her debut novel. Find out more at KSMitchell.com.

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