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The Real Meaning of Organ Donor Month

An inside look at Rutger Scott's brush with death at age eight

Chris Dodson, Viewpoint Editor

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April is National Organ Donor Month, and for junior Rutger Scott, it was the generosity of one donor that saved his life.
Scott’s life was turned upside down at the young age of eight. It was during this time that his liver started to shut down. Without a transplant, Scott would have died. While in the hospital, he was placed at the top of an organ donor list and his family’s prayers were answered when an organ was donated. Scott’s liver was donated by Cale Kastanek, a race car driver who was killed in a crash. Thanks to Kastanek’s decision to be an organ donor, Scott received his life saving transplant on November 11, 2008. He remained in the hospital for seven weeks after the transplant.
“Needless to say, this transplant changed my life,” Scott said, “and if it weren’t for organ donors, I may not have been able to continue my life.”
Scott and his donor’s family have a very close relationship.
“I meet with his family every year at the National Auto Sport Association track in West Virginia to celebrate his life through memorial laps,” Scott said. “His contribution in my life has made me sure to spread word about the wonderful gift that is organ donation. I am officially signed up to be an organ donor and my license plate even has a Donate Life sticker on it.”
Scott said it is pretty rare for the recipient of an organ and a donor’s family to connect, and that his is thrilled he got that opportunity to know his donor’s family.
“The Kastanek family is a family that I shall hold in my heart and my liver for my entire life,” Scott said. “Every single day I am thankful to be alive through Cale’s donation. Interacting with Cale’s family is always so incredible and it makes me feel satisfied because I never truly got to thank my donor in person. Through this, I am able to live knowing that the Kastanek family is well aware of how thankful I am.”
Scott would like to take this opportunity to share how important it is to become an organ donor. “Organ donation is a lifesaving practice,” Scott said. “No matter how little one donates, whether that be big or small, a life is saved. There are thousands of people on the waiting list right now. I am beyond thankful that I did not have to wait very long for my transplant. Even from a young age, I was made aware of the weight of the list when I was placed on top of it with a great haste. The process I endured was painful, but it was immensely facilitated by my wonderful donor, who sadly passed away a few days before I received his liver. He helped save over 50 lives and I’m proud in saying that I was saved by him.”
In the United States, approximately 22 people die every day from a lack of organ donations. A single organ donor can save up to 8 lives, and improve the lives of more than 50 people through tissue donation. Becoming an organ donor is easy. You can register as an organ donor online, by mail, or in person at your local VA DMV office.

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The Real Meaning of Organ Donor Month