Alabama's Organ & Tissue Donation Alliance

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Cecil, Organ Donor

Am I Too Old to Donate? A common question that often comes up for people thinking of becoming an organ donor is, “Am I too old to be an organ donor?” In 2021, Cecil F. Lockhart died at age 95 and became the oldest organ donor in U.S. history, according to the Center for Organ Recovery & Education.

As a “caring and giving man,” his family says Lockhart was inspired to become an organ donor because his son was able to heal the lives of 75 people through donation. But Lockhart had already dedicated most of his life to serving others. He first served his country during World War II and then contributed to his community as a coal miner for more than 50 years. His time in the military inspired a desire for service that continued until the very end when his donated liver saved the life of a 62-year-old woman.

Lockhart is proof that no matter how old you are, you can still potentially give the gift of life through organ donation. In fact, there is no age limit for registering to become an organ donor. Doctors say the issue is health, not age that determines donation suitability. Additionally, it is also possible to pass on the gift of life through tissue and cornea donation.

Lockhart’s donation could go on to help thousands of people. UNOS Chief Medical Officer David Klassen hopes others follow Lockhart’s example. “Too often, people mistakenly believe there is an age limit associated with being an organ donor,” said Klassen. “The truth is, no one is ever too old or too young to give the gift of life. Every potential donor is evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the time of their death to determine which organs and tissue are suitable for donation. Cecil’s generous and historic gift is a perfect example of that.”

The bottom line? You’re never too old to make a difference.

Each and every American has the power to make a contribution as significant as Lockhart’s by registering as a donor. As it did with Lockhart, donation ensures a life of service can extend long after you’re gone. Give the gift of life at any age and sign up for the donor registry.

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Register to be an Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor

More than 100,000 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant. Transplants rely on the generosity of organ, eye and tissue donors, and there are not enough donors to meet the need. You can help.