«Basically», says Giancarlo, «they asked usif you die would you like to donate your organs?”. Saying yes was an immediate, spontaneous decision. From that day on we went around with this slip, my wife in my purse and me in my wallet. We didn’t hesitate even for a moment, it seemed to us an act of love towards one’s neighbor and instead we saw it as a selfish act to conserve organs post mortem. Hearts, livers, kidneys, corneas are no longer needed for the deceased. Instead, they serve a person who is sick but is still alive, and that organ there, that organ you decide to donate, becomes a new possibility”. Antonella donated her heart and corneas. «Knowing that my wife’s heart beats in someone I’ve never known changes the meaning of death for those who remain. The doctor who harvested my wife’s heart then spoke to the doctor who implanted it in another person: “The heart beats, it works, there was no rejection”». Here is the organ of a loved one gives life to another person who in turn is loved by others. Organ donation is a concrete and circular miracle: «Organ donation is a gesture of love».
The gesture of love
The donation of gold is a gesture of love that is growing. «In 2022, organ, tissue and hematopoietic stem cell donations grew by 3.7%, as did transplants, which increased by 2.5%. However, there is still a lot to do if we consider the thousands of people on the waiting list, patients for whom transplantation really is the last chance for a cure», explains Flavia Petrin, president of Aido, National Association for the Donation of Organs, Tissues and Cells. (Here the complete interview – Petrin Aido: satisfaction with the boom in organ donation. Now push to the South). In 2022, according to ministerial data and the Higher Institute of Health, there were more organ donations (1,800), tissues (10%), stem cells (9.7%) and transplant records (3,887) . After Covid, the percentages continue to grow, taking us to the top of European statistics. But the data show a country with significant regional differences: ranging from regions such as Tuscany (49.3 donors per million inhabitants), Emilia Romagna (46) and Veneto (36.3) to Umbria (6.9) and regions from the South such as Molise (3.4), Sicily (12), Puglia and Abruzzo (12.5).
Guglielmo Venditti, regional president of Aido Campania, is a nephrologist. «Every day», he says, «I see young, very young patients who need a new kidney to survive. The transplant network in Campania works very well, there are excellent centers and excellent transplant doctors, yet in the region there is 33% opposition to transplants. It is a fact that penalizes us ». There is a basic problem: «communication», says Venditti. «We must be more widespread in the area with our awareness messages, it is not possible that here there are 19 donors for every million inhabitants. It is also a cultural heritage, the fear of saying yes».