Landrigan: NH leads region in organ donation but nearly half don't sign up
CONCORD - "Organ donations have really giving me my life back. They have given me an opportunity to be functional again.''
That's Don Mitchell, a 59-year-old man from Pelham who spent 11 months lying in a hospital bed until someone could give a kidney and a heart to him.
As with every organ donation, one person's new lease on life comes from unfortunate death, in Don's case, the untimely passing of a 21-year-old.
"My situation with the transplants, I've been extremely fortunate,'' Mitchell said.
"I have not spent a day in the hospital since I left two and a half years ago which in itself is amazing.''
New Hampshire leads New England in donors, but at 54 percent that means nearly half have not signed up.
Governor Maggie Hasssan says there's a practical reason to say yes whenever residents apply for a driver's license or register a car.
"One of the other things people should think about, if you go ahead and register as an organ donor, then if the worst happens and your family has to decide whether to donate your organs, you have taken a decision off their shoulders,'' Hassan said.
It turns out statistically, the gift is a lasting one.
"Well if someone gets an organ transplant what would be the net benefit to them looking at the whole nation as a whole and it's 32 years of life per organ transplant,'' said David Theune, donation coordinator for the New England Organ Donor Bank.
In New Hampshire, 731 lives were saved in New England due to the organ donors.