Student group petitions for

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Holly Kasberger owes her life to organ donation.

Holly’s father has suffered from Alport’s Syndrome for decades. Since Alport’s is an illness that commonly causes kidney disease, Holly’s father has needed three new kidneys throughout his life.

Her father received his first kidney from a woman who died in a car crash in the ’70s. That woman was registered on the National Donor Registry. Ten years later, Holly was born.

“I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a transplant,” Holly said. “I’ve literally seen him on his death bed three or four times. Amazingly, he made it through.”

The group Students for Organ Donation will be looking for students to sign up for the registry as part of a Michigan-wide competition against other universities until March 3.

The competition is hosted by Gift of Life Michigan and there will be two trophies awarded to the winning schools, said Danielle Foulks, senior physiology major and president of Students for Organ Donation.

Currently in America, every 16 minutes a new name is put on the waiting list for organ donations, according to The American Heart Association Web site.

In Michigan, as of December 2007, 3,190 residents are awaiting organ transplants, according to a Gift of Life Michigan news release. The news release also stated that throughout 2007, 807 recipients were given organs from organ donors in Michigan.

However, being able to donate organs is more than just signing up and getting a license sticker; students must tell their parents if they want to become a donor, Foulks said. Even if a person signs up on the registry, their next of kin must give the final approval for donation, she added.

“I signed up on this registry and it’s a national registry. So, in a hospital if anything ever happened to me they could look on the registry and see that I’m on there. But, it’s ultimately up to your family,” Foulks added.

However, some students aren’t ready to contemplate death. Danny Digneit, junior media production and new technology major, said he isn’t on the donor registry because the thought of death scares him.

“It isn’t necessarily giving my organs away that bothers me; it’s just dying. I don’t want to think about it. It would take some consideration. I’m totally down for the cause of organ donation, it’s just the matter of saying ‘I’m going to die someday,'” he said.

Digneit isn’t the first person Foulks has heard of to have this fear, she said.

“I know people don’t like to think about death, but it’s for a good cause. To save someone’s life after death is amazing.”

One person can save up to eight lives and improve the life of 50 others, she added.

Samantha Kmet, junior nursing major, has been on the donation registry for six months and agrees with the positives of organ donation.

“I would rather pass myself on and help someone else than be put in the ground and not be useful at all,” Kmet said.

Students for Organ Donation will be holding its next informational/sign-up table at the PEIF on Thursday, Feb. 7 from 5-9 p.m.

If students aren’t able to attend one of the tables and would still like to register, even if they are not Michigan residents or Northern students, they can visit www.giftoflifemichigan.com.

To add a name to Northern’s list click “Become a Donor,” and then, through the drop down tab, select how you learned about organ donation by selecting “School/college” and then selecting Northern Michigan University.