SALT LAKE CITY -- When you think of organ donation, you probably think of the heart, kidney and liver donations--but tissue donation is giving thousands of people, like Utahn Chris Mitchell, the ability to live life to the fullest.
Mitchell was born in Texas but said he has always dreamed of living in the mountains, and that dream was realized when he moved to Utah to bike, ski and snowboard.
But after suffering a hard fall while snowboarding, Mitchell had to undergo knee surgery just to be able to resume his regular activities. He said a tissue donation was a big factor in his recovery.
“I wrote them a nice note saying, 'Thank you very much,'” he said. “[I] appreciate this doesn’t seem adequate enough to express the gratitude for having this tissue, for this surgery to put my leg back together, and allow me to resume, not just the things I love, but normal daily activities.”
Mitchell was an avid blood donor, but, like a lot of people, he hadn't thought of how important tissue donation can be.
Human tissue can be used for a wide variety of life saving and enhancing procedures, including ACL repairs and even heart valve repairs.
“To say it highlighted my appreciation for donors, and donor services, and the medical community in general would probably be an understatement, I just couldn't thank them enough," Mitchell said.
To become an organ donor in Utah, all you need to do is indicate “yes” on your driver’s license. You can also visit yesutah.org to sign up. Potential donors are also encouraged to notify their family of their decision, so those wishes can be carried out.