A couple weeks ago, I got a phone call that I never expected. My 54-year-old aunt, Aggie Gooden, had a very bad headache, which got so bad, that she called 911 for an ambulance. By the time the ambulance had arrived, she had collapsed and was unresponsive. Aggie had experienced a brain aneurysm. She had surgery and was airlifted to another hospital for more advanced care.

Aggie didn't pull through this. She wound up dying the next day. She had registered to be an organ donor. No one in our family knew much about organ donation. After consulting with staff and clergy, it was determined that Aggie's organs would be donated. She wound up donating her kidneys, lungs, liver, heart valves and bone graft. She helped out eight people with simply agreeing to be an organ donor.

The reason I write today, is that I want to strongly encourage others to consider organ donation. People often times have misconceptions about donating organs. Some people will say, "I'm too old to donate." According to Lifesource, the oldest organ donor was 92 years old. So needless to say, you aren't too old.

Religion may be a concern on some people's minds. This was a concern in my family. We found out that most major religions are accepting of it. If you have concerns, I encourage you to talk to your clergy about it.

At my aunt's funeral, many people asked, "How do I become an organ donor?" It's simple. In Minnesota, you can check the organ donor box on your drivers license application. You can also register online at www.DonateLifeMN.org or you can call 888-5-DONATE. People from other states can find out how to register by going to www.DonateLife.net.

By donating your organs, you are helping others out in more ways than one. When my aunt's sudden death happened, it made the family feel much better knowing that Aggie was living on in eight other people. Two of her transplant recipients were considered critical. Had they not received Aggie's donation, they were going to die. Currently over 113,000 people are waiting for an organ donation. One person's donation can help up to 60 people. Please consider becoming an organ/tissue donor.

Thank you for your time.

Brenda Taylor

Kasson