SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 16, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an overwhelming bipartisan show of support, the Illinois State Senate unanimously passed (53-0) HB 1805, the "Drive for Life Bill". Supported by the Secretary of State, a coalition of state legislators and Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network and Mid-America Transplant, this critical legislation amends Section 6-117 of the Illinois Vehicle Code to allow Illinois residents 16 and older to join the organ donor registry. The bill will now be presented to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to sign into law.
"We greatly appreciate Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) and Sen. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) for their commitment to organ and tissue donation in Illinois," said Kevin Cmunt, President and CEO of Gift of Hope. "The passing of this bill has been a collaborative effort and we thank all those who support this legislation, which is critical for those families currently awaiting life-saving donations."
In Illinois alone, more than 4,700 people are on the waiting list and about 300 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant. It is imperative that individuals who wish to become organ donors are allowed every opportunity to do so.
Illinois is one of only three states in the union that does not allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register their wishes to become organ donors. The "Drive for Life Act" would ensure all residents 16 and older may choose to officially join the First-Person Authorization Registry. While the law gives 16- and 17-year-olds the right to express their wishes, parents and legal guardians will maintain the right to give or revoke consent until the registered donors turn 18-years-old.
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization entrusted by the nation's healthcare system with coordinating organ and tissue donation and providing donor family services and public education in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area. For more information about Gift of Hope and organ and tissue donation, visit GiftofHope.org.
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SOURCE Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network