The ROC Organ Procurement Association is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. According to a sample survey of more than 200,000 organ donor cards that the organization has on record, the percentage of female organ donors is significantly higher than male donors in all age groups. Among young healthy donors between the ages of 21 and 50, there are 2.2 times more females than males, and more than 65 percent of the total 618,000 organ donors on record are female, giving women the honor of being Taiwan’s bravest organ donor sex.
Association president Loong Che-chuan says that since the organization was first established in 1993, it has worked hard at promoting the concept of organ donation and educating people about it. There were initially only around 20,000 people with organ donor cards in Taiwan, but now — 20 years later — there are nearly 620,000 people with such cards. Donating organs is an altruistic act and serves to meet the needs of society, Loong says. Since 1987 more than 3,000 compassionate people have successfully donated organs in Taiwan, while there are 8,371 patients currently waiting for organs, Loong says, adding that he hopes more people will join the ranks of organ donors in the future.
Chang Chi-hsiang, who currently operates a bed and breakfast, shared her own organ donating experiences on Dec. 7, talking about how she lost her 13-year-old son 21 years ago. At the time she was expecting a miracle, but in reality her son could not be saved, so she tried to think of ways to allow her son to go on existing. After learning about organ donation, she and her husband decided to donate their son’s two kidneys.
The hospital subsequently offered Chang a funeral subsidy of NT$150,000, but she felt that the money seemed like a payment for her son’s organs, so she added NT$850,000 and bought an ambulance for NT$1 million and donated the vehicle, which was named Cheng-te after him, to the local fire department that had tried to rescue her son. Every time she hears the ambulance going out, she feels like her son is going out to rescue people, she says.
The year after her son’s organs were donated, the organ transplant recipient found Chang after seeing a news story about her. He asked her to be his godmother, and several years later Chang even attended his wedding, which for her felt like attending her own son’s wedding, she says while using a handkerchief to dry tears from her eyes.
For two years after the death of her son, she was unwilling to accept the truth, until her husband encouraged her to serve as a volunteer at the association. After seeing the joy experienced by so many donor recipients after gaining a new lease on life, she became more confident that the decision they made was the right one. Chang now has her own organ donor card and says that she wants to be just like her son when she dies, benevolently leaving her body for the benefit of humanity.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)