Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

Alex McDonald, director of public education, Intermountain Donor Services

Many of us think of Thanksgiving Day as a big meal, football and something about Pilgrims — right? Some people just call it "Turkey Day," but a dictionary defines Thanksgiving Day as "a national holiday celebrated as a day of feasting and giving thanks for divine favors or goodness."

Last year over 260 people in Utah gave thanks for the goodness of others because they received life-saving transplants. Nationally over 28,000 people gave thanks for being able to celebrate another holiday season with their loved ones thanks to someone saying "yes" to organ donation. Unfortunately, the waiting list keeps growing. Consider this:

Currently, there are over 100,000 people in the United States waiting for life-saving transplants. Think of every man, woman and child in Ogden, Provo or Sandy as waiting, hoping that the kindness of strangers might save their lives. About 19 people on the waiting list will die every day because not enough organs are available to meet the growing need.

If you have not already made the commitment to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, make the pilgrimage to your computer, go to and sign up today. These aren’t uncharted waters; about 73 percent of people in Utah have led the way and have made their pledge to help save lives. The Pilgrims came to "The New Land" for a better life and were welcomed when they arrived. You will be welcomed when you sign up at either the driver license office or on line.

"Twenty years ago, right before Thanksgiving, I received a heart transplant," said Mary Rizzuto, heart recipient. "I have had a chance to see my two girls grow up, finish school and become beautiful young ladies. I give thanks every day to my donor. The holidays are a time I am especially thankful that someone said yes to organ donation so I could celebrate the last 20 Thanksgivings and Christmases with my family."

Evaluate your reasons for not making that important decision. This holiday season, please consider this important decision and encourage those around the Thanksgiving dinner table with you to do the same. Signing up on the Utah Donor Registry costs nothing, but it does indicate your willingness to save the life of others in the event of your death. What better legacy can someone leave after they are gone? What better gift than the gift of life?

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Organ and tissue recipients throughout the state will be expressing thanks this season to the donors who made it possible for them to enjoy one more Thanksgiving Day with their families. They are grateful for the 73 percent of Utahns who are currently signed up on the Utah Donor Registry. Signing up on the Utah Donor Registry is as easy as marking "yes" on the application for your driver license or state ID card. You can also register online.

To get more information or to register online, log on to . Register on Thanksgiving Day as a way to show your gratitude and willingness to help others.