Sunni: Hi Dave! How are you today?
Dave: I'm fine, thanks. How about you?
Sunni: Pretty well, thanks. I'm really pleased that you agreed to an interview with me. Ever since I've known about LifeSharers I've been curious about how it came together, and what led you to create the organization. I hope my questions won't be too nosy for you! [laughs]
Dave: Don't worry about it. I'm ready when you are.
Sunni: First, it would probably be a good idea for you to tell me about yourself a little. I learned of LifeSharers, and you, through my work at Free-Market.Net. Do you consider yourself a libertarian, and if so, how did you become pro-freedom?
Dave: Yes, I consider myself a libertarian. I guess it goes back to college when I studied economics. I had some professors who were big believers in the free market. They brought people like Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard to campus.
Sunni: So you heard them live? Wow, what a great opportunity! What do you remember from those days?
Dave: Yes, I got to meet them both, and I had dinner with Murray Rothbard. Both were very inspiring. Unfortunately, I can't remember a whole lot about back then. It was a very long time ago.
Sunni: I think I read somewhere that you were in the insurance industry. Is that right?
Dave: Yes, I was in the insurance business for 25 years.
Sunni: I don't want to get too derailed by this, or get you mad at me so early in our conversation, but I honestly don't understand the insurance industry—especially health insurance. Insurance helps some people, but not most people, otherwise there wouldn't be any profit for the issuing company, right? Or am I missing something about it?
Dave: The whole point of insurance is to spread risk. If you can reduce the amount of risk you're exposed to, you can do different things. So even if you never file a claim or receive a check from your insurance company you can benefit from having insurance. There's also the peace of mind that insurance can give you.
Sunni: Is your insurance work what got you interested in organ donation?
Dave: No, that had nothing to do with it. But as it turns out, joining LifeSharers is like free transplant insurance. Your premium is your agreement to donate your organs when you die. Your benefit is a better chance of getting a transplant if you ever need one to live. It's a very attractive insurance policy.
Sunni: Okay, that does make sense to me. So, how did LifeSharers get started?
Dave: I read something about all the people dying waiting for organ transplants. Then I read something about all the transplantable organs that were getting buried or cremated because so few people are registered organ donors. I thought,
Well, they should stop giving transplants to people who won't donate their own organs. That would get lots more people to become registered organ donors, and that would save lots of lives. I did some research. I found that several other people had suggested pretty much the same thing, but that nobody had ever done anything with the idea. I decided that I would, and I started LifeSharers.
LifeSharers is like an organ circle. Everyone in our circle will give you preferred access to our organs if you'll do the same for us. It's an open circle – we invite everyone to join us. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org, or by calling us toll-free at 1-888-ORGAN88. Joining LifeSharers accomplishes three things. First, you increase your chance of getting a transplant if you ever need one. That's significant, given that thousands of Americans die every year waiting for transplants. Second, you help make organ allocation fairer by giving your organs to other organ donors. About 60% of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven't agreed to donate their own organs when they die. Third, you create an incentive for other people to donate their organs.