Varsity Tutors Scholarship Entry

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Josh of Westminster, MD
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The Gift of Life - Varsity Tutors Scholarship Essay

Yesterday, I sat in a hospital bed for several hours preparing mentally and physically, to receive a kidney. After being on the National Kidney Transplant List for almost a year, a match was finally found from a deceased donor. Only 24 hours before this, was I notified of the match. In a few hours, I was forced to decide whether I should take the kidney and jeopardize the rest of my senior year and my final high school baseball season or wait and face the risk of not finding a living donor soon enough before having to go on dialysis. With my numbers rising, we chose to follow through with the transplant. As we waited for a call to go down to the operating room, minutes before surgery, the surgeon told us that the kidney, once measured, would be too big for me, causing too many problems down the road. The transplant would no longer happen, and the status of my condition is heading towards dialysis. The wait for a new kidney continues and the need for a person willing to donate is crucial.
If I had the opportunity to give a speech to a school-wide audience, I would want to express the need for organ donation. Over 120,000 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for an organ transplant, many of who will never receive a call initiating a second chance at life. In fact, an estimated 21 U.S. patients die every day because of the lack of donor organs. This number must be decreased. Many people may not know that being an organ donor can make a huge difference in the lives of others. They don’t know that by donating your organs after you die, you can improve and even save as many as 50 lives. That’s 50 families that would be incredibly relieved to have a family member still around. If one person, could save that many lives, then with enough organ donors, we as a country can lower the 120,000 people that are currently waiting as well as the 21 that are dying each and every day.
Most people don’t know the opportunities available for living donations and how they may actually be more efficient in the transplant process. The longevity and quality of a living donation, in some cases, may be as much as twice as good as a deceased donation. Personally, I can also emphasize the importance of living donors through the experiences of my father and brother. Almost three years ago, my brother, with the same kidney failure condition as me, also needed a kidney transplant. Luckily, my father was compatible enough to able to donate one of his kidneys to him. Still living, my father agreed to follow through with the transplant. The transplant was a success, as they continue to live a healthy lifestyle today.
From my own personal experiences, I have become more aware of the need for organ donation. I realize the importance of giving life to others and I hope that many of my peers will also see this. This is what I would chose to share if given the opportunity to speak to a school-wide audience; I would want everyone to know the significance of organ donation in the lives of hundreds of thousands across the country. My life depends on it.