For your teenager, getting their driver’s license can be an exciting time and a powerful rite of passage. It can mean independence, time with friends and a newfound ability to go out on their own. And, after hours of studying road signs, practice driving at day and during the evening, they will have the opportunity to apply for a license. You should know that, after they pass the driving exam, every teenager who gets their license in North Carolina will be asked if they wish to register as an organ donor.
In North Carolina, anyone over the age of 16 may register, but the family must still give permission to donate anything for anyone under the age of 18 in the event of a tragedy. We recommend beginning the conversation about organ donation within the family before ever going to the DMV. Talking about it now can make the decision easier if tragedy ever does strike and allows family members to carry out each other’s wishes in a crisis.
Donation has the potential to save and improve the lives of so many. Jason Ray's story illustrates the impact just one donor can have.
Discussing Donation with your Family
To encourage and lead a discussion with your family, we offer the following suggestions:
Make time to discuss the subject, perhaps over dinner or during family time. Bring up the subject and gauge your family’s reaction. If they seem interested, continue with the discussion. If not, try bringing it up on another occasion--you may have to try a couple of times to get everyone used to the idea.
Ask each family member to think about their feelings and questions about organ, eye and tissue donation. Use these comments and questions as a starting point to learn together as a group.
Remember that organ, eye and tissue donation is a positive subject revolving around giving the ultimate gifts of love and life and that organ donors save the lives of other human beings: other mothers, other brothers, other sisters, fathers and children.
Look to our Stories page for examples to illustrate just what organ donation can mean to others.
Although some family members may be worried about talking about or considering donation, you can help overcome the fears by talking the about the subject openly. And, it’s okay if it takes several discussions before everyone is on the same page. The most important thing is to understand each other’s wishes about donation.