Social Media to play yet another role

Three months ago, a fifty year old videogame marketing consultant from San Diego named Michael Shelling added another purpose to his Facebook page. He needed a new kidney for his transplant and he decided to tap in to his social network. He set up a new Facebook page to reach out to his friends and their friends and friends of friends. The search has borne fruit; he has found a willing donor who is being tested.

Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive of Facebook and their Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg are encouraging their users to use their personal pages to help each other out. Zuckerberg has asked his users to update their organ status on their page. Facebook wants to be a medium that facilitates such communication.

Zuckerberg said, “We think that people can really help spread awareness of organ donation and that they want to participate in this to their friends, and we think that can be a big part in helping to solve the crisis”

Shilling is one of a huge number. Usually a recipient might have to wait three or four years to find a donor. Statistics say that there are around ninety thousand people who are waiting for a kidney donor. Kidney is the organ that is most in demand. Generally, the most number of kidneys donors are the deceased. Last year, only 28,535 kidney transplants took place.

In 2007, Shilling was told that he has kidney disease due to his chronic high blood pressure. He needed a new kidney and until then he had to go through dialysis. Lack of awareness is one of the factors that makes finding a donor hard and incredibly slow process. Hence, Shilling decided to do something more.

Zuckerberg calling out to his people has stirred fresh hope. Though generally considered a noble act, very few people sign on to donate an organ. Reports say that only one-third of the 200 million license holders in America tick the organ donation consent box. Though, the same report gathers that 90 percent of the Americans support organ donation.

Every few hours, a patient dies waiting for organ donation. In the last 20 years there has been no significant increase in the donation rates. Will this change for the better with new medium of awareness and communication?

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