LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - When most people think of organ donation, they think of donating organs after one has passed away. But many may not realize that you can help those in need before that happens.
In fact, there are a variety of ways to donate. Folks can sign up through websites online (see below) or go to donation drives to get tested at those locations. Another option is to request a testing kit to be delivered to your home.
Brandon Booth volunteered a DNA sample his freshman year of college and four years later he received a call informing him that he could be a compatible donor for bone marrows.
"They bring you in months later and try to see, based off your blood work, if you truly match up with the patient," Booth explained.
However, the odds of having a successful match are not high; only one in 20,000 donors are a match.
The number to call to get a free test kit is 1-800-Marrow-2.
Kidney donations are also a way to help those who need an organ to survive. University of Arkansas Medical Services (UAMS) transplant doctor, Frederick Bentley, says there are just a few requirements to check for a match.
"They have to be in good health and they have to be of a compatible blood type, that's number one," Bentley explains.
The potential donor also goes through an extensive medical history check, then the next step is one of the most critical parts.
"We do a special type of cross match between the recipient and the donor, we mix their cells together," Bentley said.
If you are interested in seeing if you are a match through UAMS, simply call 1-800 552-8026.
Interested donors can also use the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency, known as Arora, to get information online.
Simply visit www.arora.org and then click the link that says 'become a donor,' and fill out the information requested.
More Organ Donation Websites:
Donate Life America
Donate Life Arkansas