Yesterday's Washington Hispanic reports that Maribel Perez Vargas, the young Peruvian mother in need of a lung transplant for whom we have been praying and to whose cause we have contributed, was found by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center team that tested her last month to be a suitable candidate for lung transplant surgery.
Maribel has now been placed on the list of those awaiting a donor organ. Please keep those prayers and donations coming and go to http://www.savemaribel.com/ or MAPAVI to find out how to make a donation.
Finally, you can help people like Maribel by becoming an organ donor. It's easy. When you get your driver's license or non-driver ID, check the box that says you want to be an organ donor. Also -- and this is important -- make sure that your family and emergency contact person know that you want to be an organ donor and will support you when asked by medical personnel. Go to OrganDonor.gov to find out how you can sign up to be an organ donor and get answers to your questions. Para personas hispanohablantes, la organización Done Vida provee información sobre como hacerse donante de órganos.
It is very important for members of all ethnic groups to sign up to be donors. There is a greater probability of compatibility within an ethnic group and also certain ethnic groups are more predisposed to certain diseases leading the patient to require an organ transplant. For example, Hispanics are three times more likely than Whites to suffer from end-stage renal disease and require a kidney transplant.
Cost is often a concern but you need to know that the organ donor and/or their family is not charged for the organ donation. Medical costs associated with compatibility testing, harvesting the organ and transplanting it are the responsibility of the recipient and his/her insurance company.
Finally, Catholics can be assured that their Church fully supports organ donation. A person who has donated an organ can have a full Catholic funeral and burial in a Catholic cemetery. Catholics view organ donation as an act of charity, fraternal love and self sacrifice. Transplants are ethically and morally acceptable to the Vatican. Pope John Paul II has stated: "The Catholic Church would promote the fact that there is a need for organ donors and that Christians should accept this as a 'challenge to their generosity and fraternal love' so long as ethical principles are followed." "La donación de órganos, después de la muerte, es un acto noble y meritorio, que debe ser alentado" (Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica nº 2301). En palabras del Papa Juan Pablo II: “Cada órgano trasplantado tiene su origen en una disposición de gran valor ético: la decisión de dar sin contrapartidas parte de nuestro cuerpo para la salud y bienestar de otra persona”.