100 Million Strong

This is the first of three posts about this accomplishment and how you can get involved.

Today Donate Life America announced that there are now 100 million Americans registered as organ, tissue and eye donors, or 42% of adults in the US. This is an incredible accomplishment and one we celebrate with great enthusiasm.

In 2006 we joined our colleagues around the country in a dedicated effort to raise the number of registered donors to 100 million. It began a journey and a renewed partnership with all three of our states to save lives and provide hope and healing to those waiting by making it even easier to register as a donor. Activities by volunteers, hospital staff, funeral directors and medical examiners, driver’s licensing staff, legislators, students and people in our communities contributed to the amazing accomplishments we’ve seen in the last five years. Here are a few highlights:

In Minnesota, we launched an online donor registry, developed a new advertising campaign with the support of the Department of Vehicle Services, began a partnership that pairs volunteers with their local driver’s license office, implemented a new law mandating 30 minutes of education about donation in driver’s education classes, partnered with Minnesota hospitals to increase donor designation, and just recently passed a law allowing Minnesotans to contribute $2 to organ and tissue donation education when they receive their license (effective January 2012). Sixty percent of adults in the state are now registered as donors.

In North Dakota, we developed a new advertising campaign that featured Monica and Loren Kersting, parents of Alexa Kersting, a young girl who died waiting for a lung transplant. We implemented a new law allowing young people under the age of 18 to register as donors, conducted training with driver’s licensing staff, and launched an online donor registry with the Department of Transportation. Sixty-six percent of adults in North Dakota are registered as donors, one of the highest in the country.

In South Dakota, we’ve conducted training with driver’s license staff throughout the state, partnered with Rapid City Regional Hospital on a campaign supported by a federal grant to increase donor designation in the Black Hills, created a new advertising campaign that aired in Sioux Falls, and continue to work with the state to send birthday cards from the Governor that encourage South Dakotans to register as donors when they renew their license.  Fifty-five percent of adults in the state are registered as donors.

These efforts have created a culture of donation in which more and more people are saying yes to saving lives. It’s a beautiful thing, but there’s still work to be done. Join us on our journey as we push even further, adding 20 million in 2012.