by Erin Henry, community education coordinator
I will admit it…I watch too much TV. While indulging in my guilty pleasure, I often see story lines involving organ donation and transplants. Unfortunately, too often these shows are portraying myths or misconceptions about organ, tissue and eye donation.
So on Tuesday when I was sitting with my dog, Riley, watching the newest episode of One Tree Hill (which I had been anxiously awaiting all day) and they mentioned, “Clay needs a kidney transplant,” I sighed. I felt a disappointed feeling wash over me. I thought, “No, please don’t ruin my favorite TV show by portraying myths about organ donation. Please!”
For those of you who don’t care to watch melodramas about young 20-somethings in North Carolina, I’ll keep it brief. One of the main characters was in need of a kidney transplant as a result of going into renal failure after he was shot. While he lingers in “the in-between” he meets another young man at the hospital who was in a car crash. They discuss life and death and become fast friends. Another character offers to be a living donor, but is not a match.
“Ok,” I say to myself, “maybe this won’t be like every other transplant story on TV. They showed that not everyone is a match and that, sadly, organs do not always come in time.” I start to rest a little easier. Maybe I can continue to love this show (I mean, I’ve been watching since college).
The gentleman who was involved in the car crash died, and soon thereafter Clay received the kidney needed to save his life. At the end of the show they are reading the obituary of the man who died. The final line of the show was, “Mr. Bennett was an active sportsman, a son, a brother and beloved by many. His organs were donated so that others may live,” implying that Clay’s kidney came from the young man he met in the hospital.
I found it to be a very powerful end to the show! Not only did they avoid perpetuating myths about organ and tissue donation, but they showed that the man who donated his organs was a hero. In his death, he allowed others to live.
I want to give a big thanks to the creators of my favorite teen drama for showing that organ and tissue donation does, in fact, save lives, and those donors are heroes!