What Else Can I Do?

What Else Can I Do?

People who choose to be organ and tissue donors are often inspired by the spirit of giving. Here are some of the ways you can give the gift of life to others today.

Bone Marrow

Each year, approximately 30,000 patients in the U.S. will be diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, which are treatable by a marrow or stem cell transplant. Just one in three will find a donor match within their family. Join the National Marrow Donor Program Registry all it takes is a simple blood test. Anyone between the ages of 18-60 and in good general health can join the Registry. For more information on bone marrow donation contact the National Marrow Donor Program at www.marrow.org.


Most organ transplants would not occur without adequate blood supplies, but only 4% of the population donates blood. One blood donation saves as many as three lives, and healthy adults can donate blood every 56 days. Make saving lives a habit by donating regularly. Appointments to give blood can be coordinated through your local blood bank. To locate a blood bank near you, visit the AABB website.

Living Donation

Why become a living donor? Thousands of people die each year waiting for donated organs. There never are enough organs to meet the need. Medical science has advanced to the point where donation from a living donor is now possible.

By offering a kidney, lobe of a lung, portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine, living donors offer their loved one or friend an alternative to waiting on the national transplant waiting list for an organ from a deceased donor.

Giving the gift of life to another person is one of the most meaningful things a person can do. Today, more than 6,000 living donors per year give the gift of life to another person, and one in four of these living donors aren’t biologically related to the recipient.

Living Kidney Donation

The Washington Regional Voluntary Living Donor Program is a partnership between the federally designated organ procurement organization for the Washington area (Washington Regional Transplant Consortium) and seven Washington-area kidney transplant programs: Children’s National Medical Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Howard University Hospital, Inova Fairfax Hospital, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Washington Hospital Center. While there are many who donate kidneys to relatives and friends who are listed at these centers, it is sometimes difficult to find a person whose blood type matches that of the patient. The Voluntary Living Donor Program offers these additional and innovative options:

  • Living Donor Paired Exchange: A person may want to donate a kidney to a relative or a friend but cannot because the blood types or tissue types of this pair do not match. If another pair in the same predicament is found, an exchange may be possible. Having this option centralized through WRTC increases the opportunities for such exchanges to be made.
  • Deceased Donor Exchange: If a non-matching relative or friend donates a kidney to the general waiting list pool, then the relative or friend of the living donor would have priority on the waiting list for a kidney from someone who has died and is a match. The exchange not only benefits the person needing a kidney transplant, but also helps others still waiting by removing one person from the waiting list.
  • Voluntary Non-Directed Donation: This addresses the person who wants to donate a kidney to the general pool with no specific recipient in mind.

Refer A Friend

Simply complete our refer a friend form, and we’ll send your friends or family an email encouraging them to donate. For more information on living kidney donation in the Washington metropolitan area, call 1-866-Be-A-Donor.

For more information about other living donation options go to UNOS Transplant Living.