Encouraging organ donations

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson recently joined lawmakers and advocates in unveiling a proposed license plate design to benefit organ donation efforts statewide.

“I applaud all those using innovative approaches to increase awareness of the need for organ donors,” said Johnson. “With 3,000 people in Michigan waiting for an organ, we need to continue to take any and all steps to help save lives.”

Johnson was joined by Senator John Gleason (D-Flushing) and Representative Kevin Daley (R-Lum) at Hurley Medical Center in Flint. They and other organ donation advocates spoke about the importance of joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry and new initiatives designed to expand the list. A contest would determine the actual design of the license plate, should it be approved by the legislature.

This event marks the first time Daley is speaking publicly about the death of his son Thomas in a recent farming accident.“Signing up to be an organ donor means that in the midst of a time of grief and sorrow, someone else can experience joy and renewed hope,” said Daley. “My family and I remain comforted that Thomas’ vibrancy lives on through the gift of his organs. In honor of my son, I encourage everyone to sign up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry.”

Johnson announced last week that time permitting, Secretary of State branch employees are to ask customers if they would like to join the registry. She also noted that anyone who is interested may also sign up at the Secretary of State website at www.Michigan.gov/sos. Those who sign up will receive a red heart sticker for the front of their license or state ID card.

Additionally, a newly designed Michigan driver’s license, which began being issued this month, will signify registered donors with a permanent red heart on the front of their license. Signing the back of your driver’s license no longer enrolls residents in the donor registry.

The registry contains about 2 million names, or roughly 28 percent of the state’s 18 and older population. Age or existing health conditions shouldn’t deter anyone from adding their name to the donor registry. A transplant physician evaluates organs and tissues for their suitability.

For more information about Gift of Life Michigan, contact the agency at (800) 482-4881 or www.giftoflifemichigan.org. For more information about the Michigan Eye-Bank, call (800) 247-7250 or visit the organization’s website at www.michiganeyebank.org.

For more information about organ donation and the Secretary of State’s Office, visit its website, www.Michigan.gov/sos, and sign up for the official Twitter feed, www.twitter.com/Michsos, and Facebook updates (www.facebook.com/Michigansos).