Ari Sytner Commits Himself to Raising Organ Donation Awareness

This is a subject I haven’t really touched on.  The ongoing controversy & commentary as to whether inmates can or should be allowed to donate their organs.   I didn’t know how to broach it until my friend Ari, who is a living kidney donor & a rabbi, weighed in on it himself when asked by 60 Minutes Australia.

I know Ari through Twitter & now through supporting his Kickstarter campaign. (Please check it out & back his project, it really is worth it).

He’s a very positive person who I am so happy does so many things to champion organ donation as a whole, but especially living donation as well.

I’m glad he’s discussing some of the more hot button issues like inmate donation.

On the recipient end, we are always given the choice.

Yes, there could be certain diseases that we could be exposed to but the organs are tested thoroughly.

We are told the nature of the high risk donation & given the detail & they re-iterate the risks.  We can then choose to accept or not accept the organ.

Even if I ran the small risk of contracting hepatitis I would still accept the organ because Hepatitis can be treated & managed & I know it wasn’t given to me intentionally because it was screened.  The risk is, if I pass on that organ & I’ve already been waiting 7 months for a call to come already, it could be another 7 months I might have to wait again if I decide I’m not comfortable with the risk.   It’s up to the recipient to weight their quality of life & situation on a case-by -case basis.

No good or willing organ should be discarded just because it came from an inmate. Inmates are people.   I  don’t think they should be forced or mandated to donate if they clearly don’t want to, but I would willingly accept an inmates organs & treasure them for the gift they are.

I know others may see things differently,  but it is something you cannot decide until you’re there in that moment in the wait yourself & fighting for your life.

Thank you Ari, for what you are doing to increase donation awareness as a whole but to reach out to others to encourage them to also choose living donation if possible.

I know several who have benefitted from the experience (both donors & recipients) so it really does warm my heart to see someone so committed to championing that & also taking on issues that might seem to be a barrier or an excuse not to donate.

(Photo credit:  Ari’s twitter profile photo)





4 thoughts on “Ari Sytner Commits Himself to Raising Organ Donation Awareness

  1. My jaw just dropped – I have been thinking about and researching this issue since I got to work this morning. You are in my head!

    I find it extremely distressing that all inmates on death row have been denied the ability to give the gift of life on their deathbeds since 2013, even though some of them wanted to donate to their own family members. The only argument I have heard (from MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, no less) is that inmates have already made a massive and unforgivable mistake and therefore should not be allowed to seek any form of redemption or compassion through donating.

    What kind of argument is that? Why is it forbidden for an inmate to exercise a last act of grace before death?

    Unbelievable. I pray for resolution. Thanks for your take on the issue, right on time.

    Emily Webb
    PR and Social Media Coordinator
    800.642.8399 (Ext. 38) |

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do what I can Emily :). In all seriousness, that’s really cool. I wholeheartedly agree. While commonly most people do think of inmates as violent offenders this “high risk” group can also mean anyone who committed a crime & was subsequently released, even for non-violent offenses as well – just to point out. But I agree, they shouldn’t be mandated to give. There’s a huge problem in China with forced & coerced donation amongst those imprisoned (there’s been documentaries done. I haven’t had the nerve to watch them about that practice) & I don’t agree with that at all. However, if an inmate does want to give & believes in donation, I firmly believe they should have that right to donate. I don’t buy the “unforgivable mistake” argument in the slightest. Not to mention, there’s shortages as is, now is not the time to decide whose organs are “good enough” & whose aren’t. In my eyes, they are all equally valuable & it’s quite easy for those not in the position of fighting for their life to try & dictate what should be a personal choice on both ends (donor & recipient).


  2. Good topic. I personally a number of recipients, whose organs came from inmates. As far as I know, none have had any issues that stemmed from the gift they received from their donor.

    Myself, I was a “high risk” heart as my donor tested positive (core antibody positive) to Hep B & C. Since I was unconscious, the decision fell to my wife …… she said it was a very easy decision to make. They followed me closely for a year, then the Dr’s in Infectious Disease “deemed” that my donor was not a “carrier”.

    Currently, my area is having an extreme amount Opioid and Heroin OD deaths ………. many have become donors, albeit high risk.

    Good topic, patients that are waiting NEED this type of info.(IMO)

    Be well, D

    Liked by 1 person

    • yes, DAP another good point I had touched on. It’s important for EVERYONE to know that “high risk” still is a very viable option. It’s just a personal judgement call, but these organs are just as “good” or acceptable as “regular” ones. I agree that this is something that actually both recipients & the general public need to know. I hope in those states where they do donor education, they do touch on this fact too.


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