Organ Donation: A Lifesaving Generosity Of Spirit

Former University of Connecticut baseball player Mike Galati was in dire need of a liver transplant. His teammate Jim Penders, now the Huskies' baseball coach, offered to donate part of his, but he turned out not to be a match. Things weren't looking good.

But then, as The Courant's Dom Amore recently reported, came a phone call that changed everything. Through friends and social media he was put in touch with the family of a Maryland judge, Hon. J. Michael Conroy, who had died suddenly of a aneurysm. He was a match, and surgeons went to work, Mr. Galati, 37, has a new liver and is doing well.

This terrific story was made possible because Judge Conroy was an organ donor. Mr. Galati discovered something troubling as he battled liver disease — Connecticut compares poorly with other states in registered organ donors. Indeed, according to the organization Donate Life, only 38 percent of adults over 18 here are registered as organ and tissue donors, which puts us behind 35 other states.

What is the problem? Donation doesn't cost anything. It doesn't negate an open casket viewing. Hospitals do not hasten the deaths of donors. All mainline religions endorse the practice.

The need, as Mr. Galati will attest, is real. There are, according to, more than 118,000 people (including more than 700 in Connecticut) waiting for transplants. An average of 75 people receive transplants each day, but 18 die waiting for them. You can register as a donor when you get or renew your driver's license or by going to

Judge Conroy, a star Notre Dame rugby player as a young man, didn't just donate a liver to Mr. Galati. As his son John told The Courant, his father also donated two lungs, two kidneys and muscle tissue to various recipients, and his heart for medical research. Is there a better way to say goodbye?

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