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Cape Coral couple encouraging organ donation

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 27, 2021

CAPE CORAL, FLA — By the end of 2021, more than 7,000 people will die while waiting for an organ transplant. That's according to the group "Donate Life America."

Each year they use the month of April to raise awareness and to encourage people to sign up to be donors.

It's a cause near and dear to the hearts of Cape Coral couple, Dr. David and Janet Weinstein.

"There are so many people waiting for organ transplants," said Dr. David.

According to Donate Life America, nationwide that number sits at about 100,000 people on any given day.

It's a list his wife Janet says she found herself sitting on after being diagnosed with kidney failure around 2009.

"I was so shocked because the next stage is dialysis," she said.

Two years later, she was given the gift of a second chance.

"I am so grateful to my donor family and my donor," she said, "I went through a little grieving period for the family since I had lost a husband, I knew what it was like."

But after grieving, Janet says she got busy living.

"I was 62 then and I started and then competing in races. Never ever thought I would be doing that at that age. But now I'm in my 70s and I'm still doing it," she said.

Her husband, Dr. David Weinstein has also been busy living, but from a different vantage point.

"I'm the official photographer," he said laughing.

Dr. Weinstein says he's also grateful to be here, after going into kidney failure himself about 30 years ago.

"This thanksgiving, one day before thanksgiving will be 24 years of wonderful, wonderful life," he said, "My boy was a 21-year-old boy who died in an auto accident. And in his parents' most horrible moment of their life. They said, "Let's make something good out of this."

The pair now volunteer with various organ donation groups, to raise awareness and remind people of the good that can come from being a donor.

"Without them. Janet and I wouldn't have been here," said Dr. David.

One of the biggest roadblocks to organ donation, that Weinsteins say they find is fear.

According to them, some people think they won't get lifesaving care in the hospital if they need it because doctors want to harvest their organs.

And the couple says that idea is simply not true...

"The hospital, the nurses, the doctors that are treating you do not know that you are an organ donor. This is an outside unit that comes in and has the registry nobody in the hospital knows you're a donor so you're going to be treated to save your life," said Dr. David.

Age plays into the second biggest myth that the couple says they hear from people over and over.

They say many older folks simply think they're "too old" to donate an organ or to register to be a donor.

And that's also not true.

"A 92-year-old person was an organ donor, so age is not necessary, it depends on how healthy the organs are," said Dr. David.

To learn more about organ donation and how to register to be a donor, click here.