By Craig McMorris, TV5 Anchor/Reporter WNEM.com
LANSING, MI (WNEM) -
Nearly 41,000 residents joined the state's organ donor registry last month, an increase of 89 percent from February 2011, according to Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson.
Through the first two months of 2012, more than 82,000 people registered as donors in Michigan. That puts the state ahead of 2011's pace by 77 percent. Nearly 400,000 residents - a record number - joined the registry in Michigan last year.
Registrations have surged since May, when Johnson put a policy in effect requiring Secretary of State branch office employees, as time permits, to ask customers at the counter if they would like to join the state's donor registry. The department has also strengthened its partnerships with donation advocates and taken other steps to promote registration, including placing reminders on printed and online forms for customers.
"With every day we are given, we have the opportunity to give of ourselves, help others and advance the common good," Johnson said. "By choosing to donate life, we can make a difference in the most profound way possible."
Almost 3,000 people in Michigan are waiting for an organ transplant. Nationwide, there are more than 113,000. There are currently more than 2.5 million people on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.
Bob Hoag of Delta Township near Lansing received a lung transplant at the University of Michigan Transplant Center in 2008.
"Without my lung transplant, I wouldn't have been able to meet my youngest grandson or watch my other grandchildren grow," Hoag said. "What Ruth Johnson and her staff have accomplished is amazing, and their work will undoubtedly save lives."
The latest donor registration numbers were welcomed by the leaders of Michigan's top advocacy organizations.
"Creating an efficient and effective donor registry system in Michigan requires commitment, dedication and passion," said Lisa Langley, executive director of the Michigan Eye-Bank, which seeks to preserve and restore sight for people. "While the numbers prove the Department of State's commitment to this cause, it is Secretary Johnson's passion that drives the department to serve residents in meaningful ways. And what can be more meaningful than saving and improving the lives of others through organ, tissue and eye donation?"
"The record number of citizens making this life-saving decision to join the donor registry is heartening," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state's organ and tissue recovery organization. "It shows that the message is getting out that every individual has the power to save and improve lives. We applaud Secretary of State Johnson and all of her staff for their commitment to giving people the opportunity to be a hero."
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today!
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You.