Did you know more than 100,000 people are waiting for life-saving organ transplants? It's a number that might not get your attention unless you know someone on the list. Here at Saint Ignatius College Prep, we do know someone who's waiting: Fine Arts teacher Nathon Rodrigues.
We spoke with Elyse Rodrigues, his wife of 17 years. She said, "One day Nathon got tired, and he didn't stop being tired. He's in a state of exhaustion constantly."
The alarming symptom prompted hospitalization. Doctors told Mr. Rodrigues a condition he lived with --  which to that point had not been life-threatening -- became just that. The diagnosis is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It means the teacher's heart muscle is thickening, preventing the effective pumping of blood and therefore oxygenation. Mr. Rodrigues needs a heart transplant.
"Hopefully people will consider signing up to be organ donors," said Mrs. Rodrigues, "And it's very timely because April is National Donate Life Month. Nathon wants to spread the word. He's trying to raise awareness."
His "why" goes beyond his own need. The Rodrigues family has long known the importance of organ donation. Mr. Rodrigues' father, who had his same condition, got 17 more years of life thanks to a heart transplant and someone's selfless decision to be a donor. The extra time meant so many more memories with family and friends, which is exactly what Mr. Rodrigues hopes for with his own daughter, Elizabeth, who's just 12 years old.
"Nathon would like to thank everyone for their continued support and prayers," said Mrs. Rodrigues, "Please look into organ donation."
You can learn more about age requirements and registering to become a donor at LifeGoesOn.com. First-person consent means your wishes will be honored. According to the Illinois Secretary of State, information contained in the registry "is only released to organ and tissue procurement personnel...after all efforts to save a person's life have been exhausted." 
From the Institute of Clinical Bioethics: "The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good sought for the recipient." Pope John Paul II "vigorously affirmed that a beautiful act expressing the culture of life 'is the donation of organs, performed in an ethically acceptable manner...'"

Saint Ignatius College Prep

Saint Ignatius College Prep, a Jesuit Catholic school in the heart of Chicago, is a diverse community dedicated to educating young men and women for lives of faith, love, service and leadership.