April Is National Donate Life Month, According to DonateLife-PA

As demand for organ donors continues, Pennsylvanians are encouraged to consider registering as organ and tissue donors

Mar 15, 2011, 13:38 ET from DonateLife-PA

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With more than 8,000 people in the Commonwealth awaiting an organ transplant, and thousands of others waiting for a tissue transplant, there is a critical need for Pennsylvanians to register as designated organ and tissue donors.

"In April, during National Donate Life Month, we honor donors who have provided others with a second chance for a healthy life and encourage more Pennsylvanians to share this precious gift," says Susan Stuart, President and CEO, Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) based in Pittsburgh. "Although we know there is public support for organ and tissue donation, we need more individuals to take that next step and register to become a donor."

"By saying yes to organ and tissue donation, one person can save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people.  Organ and tissue donation can free people from dialysis treatments, give the gift of sight, repair joints, save limbs or help burn victims heal," says Howard M. Nathan, President and CEO, Gift of Life Donor Program.  "Each day, 18 people on the national organ waiting list die because an appropriate match wasn't found in time. The likelihood of finding a match increases with more registered donors."

Pennsylvania driver's license and identification card holders can take action immediately by going to PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website and saying "yes" to organ donation. Individuals who register as donors will receive a designation card to carry with them until it's time to renew their driver's license or identification card. More than 4,000 Pennsylvanians have used the online registration service since its inception in 2006, but many more donors are needed.  

More than 85 percent of the American population supports organ donation but those numbers aren't translating into action in Pennsylvania.  In the commonwealth, which ranks 30 out of 50 states, with fewer than 50 percent of eligible donors placing the organ donor designation on their driver's license or state identification card. To see the statistics for Pennsylvania by county go to http://www.donatelife-pa.org/map.asp

Donor eligibility is not impacted by age or race.  However, there are just a few health conditions, including HIV and fast-spreading cancers, which would make individuals ineligible to donate.

The gift of organ donation is also supported by all major religions. Because some conditions and blood types are more common in certain ethnic and racial populations, the federal Department of Health and Human Services especially encourages minorities to consider donation.

Pennsylvanians can register to become an organ and tissue donor by visiting www.donatelife-pa.org or by saying "YES" when renewing their driver's license or state identification cards at any PennDOT Driver's License and Photo Center.

About CORE  

CORE, Center for Organ Recovery and Education, is a regional not-for-profit agency that is the primary call center and intermediary for the organ recovery and allocation process that serves 155 hospitals and more than six million people in western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Chemung County in New York.  CORE has helped to pioneer organ procurement allocation and recovery for this region since it was founded in 1977 as the Pittsburgh Transplant Foundation.  For more information visit www.core.org.

About Gift of Life Donor Program

Since 1974, Gift of Life Donor Program has served as the link between donors and patients awaiting life-saving transplants in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.  In that tenure, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 30,000 life-saving organ transplants and hundreds of thousand tissue transplants.  For more information, visit www.donors1.org.

Life Begins with You Campaign

The Life Begins with You campaign is a collaborative initiative between Gift of Life Donor Program (GOL), the Center for Organ & Recovery Education (CORE) – the two organ procurement organizations serving Pennsylvania – and the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Transportation. It is funded by state residents through voluntary contributions included with driver's license renewals, vehicle registrations and state income tax filings. All contributions are used by the Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund to educate residents, build awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation, and increase the number of people who sign up to become donors on their driver's license or state identification card.

One Extraordinary Way to Say Love Life.

When you choose to become an organ and tissue donor, you have the power to give the most precious gift – life. Join the nearly four million Pennsylvanians who have said "yes" to organ and tissue donation by adding the donor designation to your driver's license, learner's permit or state identification card. Sign up to be an organ and tissue donor today by visiting www.donatelife-pa.org because Life Begins with You.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Howard Nathan  https://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=99978

Susan Stuart, RN, MPM  https://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=99981

SOURCE DonateLife-PA