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Students and faculty signing up to be organ donors


By Lauren Lund
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 14, 2005
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More than 300 students and faculty became organ donors this week at the University of Arizona Students for Organ Donation table on the UA Mall, meaning a potential of 2,400 lives can be saved.

UAOD is a young club on campus that became officially recognized in 2004, according to their Web site.

"The purpose (of the club) is to endorse, educate and encourage donation," said Amina Shonka, president of UAOD. "We are here to educate those unaware of the issue and dispel any myths."

This week, UAOD is representing national donor awareness month by having a table on the Mall where students and faculty can sign up to be organ donors and find out information about organ donating, said Shonka, a psychology senior.

"I was just walking by," said Bryan Weber, a pre-physiological science senior who registered at the table. "I'm not going to use my organs after I'm dead, so I might as well give them away."

UAOD had different colored balloons surrounding their table, each representing a different fact, Shonka said.

The yellow balloons represented the 50 people who can be improved from a single organ donor.

The red balloons represented how a person is added to the organ donor waiting list every 13 minutes.

The orange balloons represented that up to five lives can be saved by each organ donor.

Green balloons symbolized the 17 people who die every day waiting for an organ transplant.

The black balloons represented how 67 people from Arizona died waiting for an organ transplant last year.

UAOD hopes to help lower these numbers by bringing awareness to the campus and getting people to register to become organ donors, said Shonka.

Shonka warned registering to become an organ donor with your license at the Motor Vehicle Division is no longer considered a binding document.

In order to be an organ donor, a person must register through each state they occupy, Shonka said.

"I was just walking by and I heard the license is no longer valid," said Ryan McCarthy, and adjunct lecturer who registered to be an organ donor at the UAOD table. "I (have) always supported organ donation and I wanted to make it official."

When a student or professor registers at the table, UAOD mails the registration card to the Arizona Donor Registry, which puts the cards into a state and national database. Then a card is sent to the donor within a few weeks, Shonka said.

UAOD will not be on the Mall today, but Shonka said the group will be back Friday to continue registering people.

For more information or to register to become an organ donor, students and faculty can visit UAOD's Web site at www.uaod.org.



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