The wait continues for more than 100,000 Americans desperately in need of a new organ. Students enrolled in Personal Law II at Huntington High School recently learned about the issues surrounding donation from a familiar face.
Dean of Students Paul Caleca visited students to discuss his experience donating a kidney to his sister seven years ago. “He presented an intricate lesson about organ compatibility from the initial blood test, through the allele matching to the lengthy physical exam and psychological profile designed to verify that there was no coercion or duress and that the organ donor is willingly participating,” business teacher Suzie Biagi said.
Students in the half-year, half-credit course are currently studying probate law and organ donation along with health care proxies, living wills and estate planning to name just a few topics.
Huntington Dean of Students Paul Caleca.
“At the culmination of the unit the students will even experiment with crafting their own last wills and testaments as they explore the many confusing issues surrounding this often ‘touchy’ subject,” Mrs. Biagi said. “Our goal with this course is to expose our pupils to the many different types of legal issues that will come their way as they grow into independent young adults.”
Mr. Caleca sat with students and reviewed all aspects of his experience. If I was asked once, I was asked at least 20 times, ‘Why do you want to do this? Are you sure you want to do this?’” he told the teenagers when describing the pre-donation process he went through.
“Mr. Caleca told of his sister’s medical plight, the frustrating path one has to take when needing an organ and the emotional bond that the experience forged upon his family,” Mrs. Biagi said.
Students were captivated during much of the discussion. “There are so many heroes among us, just in our school alone, but Mr. Caleca being able to share his poignant story with my classes was a wonderful experience for the students and really shed light on the important issue of organ donation,” Mrs. Biagi said.
About 130 million Americans have registered as organ donors. There are currently nearly 120,000 people on organ donation waiting lists in the U.S.