Giving the Gift of Life

April is National Donate Life Month, a time when we celebrate the lives of those who were saved by a transplant, recognize those who are still in need, honor those who have donated, and thank the ones who are registered organ donors.

Thousands have benefited from organ donation. Last year nearly 30,000 people had their lives changed because someone else donated a life-saving organ or tissue.

Despite that, there are still about 122,000 men, women, and children in the U.S. who need a transplant — and more than 3,500 of them are in Michigan. While tens of thousands of donations happen each year, an average of 8,000 people — or 22 a day — lose their battle while waiting for a transplant. The need for donors continues to rise.

The good news is, more than 121 million Americans are registered organ donors. You may be one of them. While that is a great statistic, about half of U.S. adults aren’t registered donors.

Here in Michigan, we are working to make it easier to register to donate. Senate Republicans led the way in recently approving a bill to help increase the number of registered organ donors in our state.

Lauren’s Law, as it is referred to, would make it easier to become a registered donor by having the secretary of state’s office ask whether a person wishes to be added to the Michigan anatomical gift donor registry when he or she applies for a driver’s license.

Registering to be an organ donor is simple, and it could have a lasting impact: one donor can help more than 50 people.

For information about organ donation or to sign up to become a donor, visit the Gift of Life Michigan website at GiftofLifeMichigan.org.