May 21, 2024

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Officials Encourage Organ Donation During National Donate Life Month

3 min read
Anthony Dotterer, husband of Heather Leverington, an organ recipient and donor family from Bellefonte, with their son Asher after last week’s event.

Pennsylvania officials are urging residents to register as organ donors in conjunction with National Donate Life Month this April.

At a press conference last week, representatives from the PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and organ donation organizations, the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) and Gift of Life Donor Program, emphasizing the potential to save lives through a simple registration process that can be done at any time, not just during license renewals.

“Choosing to become an organ donor could help save a life,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “And if you’re considering it, you don’t have to wait until you renew your driver’s license or ID card, you can add the designation anytime.”

Statistics reveal that nearly five million Pennsylvanians, more than 49 percent of all driver’s license and identification card holders in the state, are registered as organ donors.

The need for donors is substantial as nearly 7,000 state residents are currently waiting for organ transplants, officials said.

“Organ and tissue donation has touched most of our lives, as many of us know a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor who was impacted by organ donation,” said Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen. “I have seen the positive impact of organ donations on the lives of children and families over the years, and that is why I encourage others to join me and give the gift of life by becoming an organ donor. It only takes a minute to register, and each individual organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people.”

Adding an organ donor designation is free of charge.

Residents can visit the Organ and Tissue Donation page on the Driver and Vehicle Services website to make this life-saving addition to their records. A designation card is provided to confirm donor status until the next renewal or replacement of their license or ID.

Additionally, Pennsylvanians can contribute $3 to the Gov. Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund during vehicle registration or driver’s license transactions. These donations fund educational and promotional efforts about organ donation through non-profits like CORE and the Gift of Life Donor Program.

The urgency of organ donation is showed by national statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which report that 17 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant. A single donor can save eight lives and enhance over 75 more.

At last week’s event, organ recipient and donor families were sharing the message. A quilt with those who were impacted by organ donations was hung.

Efforts to boost awareness include advertisements on the Motor Vehicle Network at driver license centers across Pennsylvania.

For more information on how to become an organ donor or to sign up, Pennsylvanians are encouraged to visit www.donatelifepa.org, www.core.org, or www.donors1.org. Registration takes just 30 seconds and could make a lifesaving difference.

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