Health Report: Fairbanks Memorial Hospital shares alternative ways to assist with organ donations

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 4:47 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Donating one’s organs can help save several lives. From hearts and lungs, to skin and eyeballs, the donation of organs can make a huge difference in someone’s life. But for some, there may be a hesitation to become an organ donor for a variety of reasons.

According to Marisa Sharrah, Development Program Manager at Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation, there can be several reasons why someone may be hesitant to become a donor.

“If that’s right for them, or for their family members, I would first encourage people to seek more education and more information about organ donation,” Sharrah explained. “Sometimes there might be religious considerations. In those situations I would encourage people to reach out to their clergy and to just understand what specific religious considerations may be for their particular consideration.”

Alternatively, some may not be able to donate for medical reasons - but there are ways those people can still help those in need of organ donations without becoming a donor according to Sarah Martin, Chief Nursing Officer at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

“LifeCenter Northwest is the agency that we work with here on the west coast and in the State of Alaska,” Martin elaborated. “But there’s also Life Alaska that works with tissue and bone donation - and those organizations both accept donations and have great websites that people can go on to seek other information or ways that they can donate there as well.”

Even spreading the word or having discussions on organ donations can help, according to Sharrah. “If somebody is interested in supporting organ donation, there are so many ways that they can do that. They can talk to their family or friends about organ donation and try to increase the number of people that are active registered organ donors in the state. If they want to support the process of caring for organ donor patients and their families, they can make a donation. Here in our community we have the Brooke Fisher Gift of Life fund that was set up specifically for that purpose, and that’s here at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.”

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