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Promoting Organ Donation: Officials Support National Donate Life Month

Anthony Dotterer, the spouse of Heather Leverington, a recipient of an organ donation, and a donor family from Bellefonte, was captured in a heartwarming moment with their son Asher during the recent gathering.

In light of National Donate Life Month this April, Pennsylvania officials are strongly advocating for residents to enroll as organ donors.

During a recent press briefing, representatives from PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and prominent organ donation organizations such as the Center for Organ Recovery and Education (CORE) and Gift of Life Donor Program, highlighted the critical importance of registering as an organ donor to potentially save lives. They emphasized that this registration process can be completed at any time, not solely during license renewals.

“PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll expressed, ‘Opting to be an organ donor has the power to save a life. You don’t have to wait for your driver’s license or ID card renewal; you can make this impactful decision anytime.’”

Recent statistics indicate that over five million Pennsylvanians, which accounts for more than 49 percent of all driver’s license and identification card holders in the state, have registered as organ donors.

The demand for donors remains significant, with close to 7,000 state residents currently awaiting organ transplants, as per officials.

Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Debra Bogen stated, “Organ and tissue donation has touched the lives of many within our communities. Witnessing the positive effects of organ donations on children and families reinforces the importance of becoming an organ donor. It only takes a moment to register, and each donor has the potential to save up to eight lives.”

Enrolling as an organ donor is a cost-free process. Residents can easily add this designation by visiting the Organ and Tissue Donation page on the Driver and Vehicle Services website. A designation card is issued to confirm donor status until the subsequent license or ID renewal or replacement.

Moreover, Pennsylvanians have the option to contribute $3 to the Gov. Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund during vehicle registration or driver’s license transactions. These contributions support educational initiatives on organ donation through non-profits like CORE and the Gift of Life Donor Program.

National statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services underscore the urgency of organ donation, revealing that 17 individuals lose their lives daily while awaiting organ transplants. A single donor has the potential to save eight lives and improve the quality of life for over 75 others.

During the recent gathering, organ recipient and donor families shared their stories, accompanied by a poignant quilt featuring individuals impacted by organ donations.

To learn more about organ donation or to register, Pennsylvanians are encouraged to visit the relevant websites. Registration is swift, taking only 30 seconds, yet it could make a life-saving impact.