Organ donor registration up 89 percent in February

LANSING - Nearly 41,000 residents joined the state’s organ donor registry last month, an increase of 89 percent from Feb. 2011 and further evidence that Michigan is improving the odds for those in need of transplants, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced today.

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?”

For more information about organ donation and Secretary of State office locations and services, visit

Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).