From a car dismantler to organ donation

On Saturday, I was very excited to go to the Lawrence Berkeley Labs for their open house.  However, I ended up spending the day at a place called “Pick and Pull: a self-serve auto and truck dismantler.”  My partner was “retiring” her 31 year old Cadillac DeVille that used to belong to her grandfather.  In case you’re unfamiliar with this beauty of a car (Hers was blue):

When we first arrived at the dismantler, I was horrified!  It looked like a sad dumping ground for unwanted cars and there were long lines of vultures just waiting for an opportunity to “pick and pull” at its innards.  I was scared and so very sad.  It reminded me of “Toy Story 3” where all the unwanted toys get tossed away to rot and die.  I wanted to grab my partner, jump in the car, and run away forever!  However, I slowly regained my senses as we started our 2.5 hour wait for the entire process.  I realized that this wasn’t a dumping after all.  This was a place where her Caddy could live on by helping other cars.  It’s engine only had 50,000 miles on it, its seats were still plush and squishy (in a way that only Cadillacs are), and the rims…still very classy.  And I’m sure it has a host of other usable parts still (I’m obviously not a car mechanic.)  It wasn’t just an environmentally friendly place (hazardous materials and usable car parts are removed, recycled, or reused), but the dismantler was a place where parts of the Cadillac could live on FOREVER!  Well, maybe not forever…I’m getting a little carried away.  Anyway, so then, I thought…the Cadillac is being like an organ donor!

What’s an organ donor?!

An organ donor is a person who gives their organ, tissue, or blood to someone else without asking for or receiving money.  People can donate blood, and some tissues (skin, muscle) and some organs (kidney, portions of your liver, lung, or pancreas) while they are still living.  People can also register themselves to be a donor so that when they die, their viable tissues and organs can go to someone else who needs them.  You can donate your heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines.  You can also donate corneas, and tissues such as heart valves, cardiovascular tissue, bone and soft musculoskeletal tissue, and skin.

Why would anyone want to donate their organs?

With our current technology, some organ transplants can save people’s lives.  On the federal government’s website for organ donors, it says that one person can potentially save up to 8 people’s lives through organ donation (Check out this article about one man’s donation and the lives he saved.)  As of now, there are nearly 112,000 people who are waiting for an organ.  In fact, two years ago, one of my friend’s received a kidney transplant which has made her every day life much more bearable, because she only had one working kidney due to a disease called Lupus.  Becoming an organ donor is a personal decision and there are many people who feel uncomfortable with the idea.  In a highly illegal practice, organs are “harvested” from the deceased without consent and sold on the black market.  Yikes!  If you’re interested in finding out more about organ donations, check out www.organdonor.gov.

On a completely different, yet related note, here’s DJ Shadow’s song titled…you guessed it! “Organ Donor”

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