Saving lives through organ donation - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Saving lives through organ donation

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Thousands mourn police Officer Nick Armstrong's heroic death, but even in death he's becoming a hero to others as an organ donor.

"For him to give his life for that and then help give lives to other people, I can't imagine anything more heaven-sent than something like that."

Jan Bolluyt knows first-hand how heaven sent organ donors are. A few years ago he found out he needed a kidney transplant. Jan describes what was going through his mind.

"Fear. What's this gonna be like? What's it gonna do? How much is it gonna shorten my life?'"

But after two years on the transplant waiting list, Jan got that life-saving call. A woman passed away, but left him, a new kidney and a new life.

"She gave me that time with my grandchildren, that time with my wife, she was a selfless, wonderful woman."

But Dr. Tariq Khan, one of Jan's transplant surgeons, says it's not always a happy ending.

"We have a lot of people that die on the wait list," said Dr. Khan.

And he says it's not just hurting the ones who are sick.

"It trickles down to your family, society, the community, because you're no longer productive anymore."

But Jan and his doctor say less families and communities would be hurt if more people, like Officer Nick Armstrong chose to be donors.

"It's a sad thing that somebody has to lose their life in order for me to extend mine, but I just think they're saints," said Jan.

Dr. Khan says there's more than 72-thousand people on the transplant waiting list this year.

But he says between January and May of this year less than 6-thousand actually got live-saving organs.

Dr. Khan says one person's decision to be an organ donor can save about 6 lives.

For more information on organ donation go to the United Network for Organ Sharing's website: http://www.unos.org/.

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