Apr 28, 2009

Random acts of kidney... er, kindness on campus

by Christopher Scott

Opening a door for a lady, allowing someone to use your cell phone, lending a pencil in class — all of these charitable acts put no real expense on the benefactor’s present situation, yet they can mean a whole lot to a person in need. In fact, small acts of kindness even have a tendency to save lives.

Such is the case with organ donors, who are people that simply sign their names to a piece of paper, forfeiting the luxury of keeping their posthumous organs — items most people can certainly do without after death.

The students of Liberty University have recently taken a new interest in this particular form of stranger-to-stranger kindness, thanks to communication students Brad Brownson, Jessica Black, Derek Lisko and Ben Taylor, who have taken it upon themselves to create an organ donation awareness campaign for their public relations class.

“Every day, thousands of people die because they are unable to have organ and tissue transplant surgeries,” Brownson said.

Brownson and his team were able to sign up over 60 Liberty students to become organ donors at their booth, which opened on Wednesday, April 15 and operated until Friday, April 17.

“By becoming a donor, people can save lives and impact the lives of others even after they die. From a Christian perspective, becoming an organ donor seems right because it is a selfless act of kindness that can have a major impact on those who are in desperate need of help,” Brownson said.

The group worked in conjunction with LifeNet Health, a non-profit organization that specializes in organ and tissue banking. The organization supplied them with brochures, pens, bracelets and other promotional materials to raise awareness among students.

While encouraging students to sign up, the group frequently came across students who were hesitant about donating because of the common fear they held of receiving poorer treatment from doctors as a result of organ donor status.

The group, which set up last week in the main hallway of DeMoss, aimed at erasing those fears.

“We changed this perception by just basically talking to them and explaining that a doctor’s main objective is to save a person’s life,” Brownson explained. “A doctor in charge of organ transplants is a different doctor than one that would be trying to save someone who had been in a serious accident.”

The bottom line is that doctors will do anything to save a patient’s life and an individual’s donor status has no bearing on the treatment they will receive.

“Once people understood that doctors would do everything they could to save patients’ lives, and that they weren’t at risk for receiving unfair treatment just because they were an organ donor, people became a lot more receptive to becoming a donor,” said Brownson.

What would life be like without the stranger-to-stranger kindness that cushions society? Imagine a world full of

Ebenezer Scrooges. What would happen if someone ran out of gas on the highway, and nobody stopped to help? Or if someone were to forget to bring a No. 2 pencil to class during exam day, and no one offered to lend a spare?

The answers to these simple questions leave us no doubt that small acts of kindness directed at random strangers are indeed crucial to our society.


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