SAN ANGELO, Texas — For National Donate Life Month, a living organ donor shared her story of donating one of her kidneys to a man in need.
Donating your organs does not have to happen once you’ve died. Some of the organs that can be donated while living include a kidney, a portion of a lung or liver, pancreas or intestine.
For kidney donor Becky Gustamante, donating to someone in need has been a goal of hers for most of her life.
“My journey actually started as a young undergraduate student studying anatomy and physiology class. I kept telling my lab partner that one of these days, I'm going to be a living donor. Many years later that desire never left me, and I had done some research on the testing that different programs did. That's where it all started.” Gustamente said.
She was able to donate her kidney to a man who has a wife and three children. Once he was removed from the organ donation waiting list and found her as a donor, he no longer needed to be tethered to a dialysis machine.
The Texas Organ Sharing Alliance reports nearly 106,000 patients are currently on the national organ waiting list in the United States, and 10,000 of those patients are in Texas.
TOSA Senior Communications Coordinator Clarissa Thompson urges people to do their research on organ donation because they could potentially save a life.
“While you're still alive. You also can make a difference, just like Becky and ask to consider a living donation. A lot of people don't realize that you not only can donate a kidney, but you can also donate your liver, a part of your liver as living donors. So the two really go hand in hand and we're excited to be celebrating both this National Donate Life Month.” Thompson said.
In West Texas, there were 806 organs transplanted and more than 770,000 Texans added to the Donate Life Texas Registry in 2021.
For more information on organ donation, visit Tosa1.org.